Despite a slow start in the Champions League this season, Copenhagen managed to secure their spot in the last 16 with a three-match unbeaten run from November to December.
Their victories over Manchester United and Galatasaray, along with a draw against group winners Bayern Munich, propelled them to the knockout stage. This marks only the second time Copenhagen has reached this stage in the Champions League, the first being in 2010-11 when they lost to Chelsea in the last 16.
Copenhagen's domestic form has been inconsistent, with a three-match winless streak leading into the winter break. They participated in the mid-season Atlantic Cup earlier this month but finished fourth in the competition. Despite their previous victory over Manchester United, they face a tough challenge against the reigning Champions League holders.
Manchester City, on the other hand, had a flawless group stage campaign, winning all six matches. Their momentum continued into domestic competitions, with a 10-game winning streak, temporarily putting them at the top of the Premier League table.
The last time Manchester City exited at the last-16 stage was in Guardiola's first season in charge. Their previous encounters with Copenhagen have been favorable, including a 5-0 win at home during the 2022-23 group stage. However, matches on Copenhagen's turf have resulted in draws for the English side.
INJURIES & SUSPENSIONFollowing his crucial goal that propelled Copenhagen into the knockout phase at the expense of Galatasaray, midfielder Lerager received two yellow cards, resulting in his suspension for Tuesday's first leg.
With Lerager sidelined, options to fill the gap include Rasmus Falk, Viktor Claesson, and 19-year-old Oscar Hojlund, brother of Manchester United's Rasmus Hojlund. Copenhagen also faces injury concerns with Davit Khocholava and Theo Sander out with knee injuries, while Birger Meling's muscular injury leaves him doubtful for the match.
Recent additions to Copenhagen's squad, goalkeeper Alex Runarsson and loanee Scott McKenna, are available for selection. The spotlight may also be on 18-year-old Roony Bardghji, who scored in Copenhagen's memorable win against Manchester United.
In contrast, Manchester City arrives in Copenhagen with a fully fit squad and no suspensions to worry about. However, defender Ruben Dias will miss the second leg if cautioned due to previous bookings.
Manager Pep Guardiola is expected to make changes to the lineup following their recent match against Everton. Players like Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne are likely to return to the starting eleven. Leading the attack will be Erling Haaland, who recently set a new Premier League record with 50 goals from 50 starts.
POSSIBLE LINE-UPSCopenhagen possible starting lineup:
Grabara; Ankersen, Diks, Vavro, Jelert; Goncalves, Falk, Claesson; Elyounoussi, Bardghji, Achouri
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Gvardiol; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Doku, Haaland, Foden
FC Copenhagen 0-3 Manchester City
While the atmosphere at Parken Stadium can be daunting for visiting teams, Manchester City, with their full squad, is expected to capitalize on their customary surge during this time of the season and secure an advantage in the first leg to take back to the Etihad Stadium.