A year is a long time in football.
At this same stage last year, Manchester City lost 4-1 on aggregate against Barcelona – the four-time European champions.
This time, though, City do not have an inferiority complex against the Catalan giant as they prepare to host them in their UEFA Champions League (UCL) last 16 first leg tie at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
The Barclays Premier League champions are hitting top form just at the right time and their French midfielder Samir Nasri believes they can reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
“I think it was too much of a big game for us (last year),” Nasri told a news conference on Monday.
“We gave Barca too much respect last year. This year is different. We know what we’re capable of. (Lionel) Messi and (Real Madrid’s Cristiano) Ronaldo play in their own galaxy, but the rest do not. We’re not going to be scared.”
Juventus welcome a resurgent Borussia Dortmund to Turin.
The Bianconeri, once a force to be reckoned with in European football, are seeking only their second Champions League last eight appearance since 2006.
Juve are the dominant force in Serie A but they struggled in the group stage of the UCL before finishing second behind Atletico Madrid.
In contrast, Dortmund, who have put their domestic worries aside on the European stage, are in the second round for the third year in a row after strolling through the group stage, losing only one game to finish ahead of Arsenal.
Below are match backgrounds to Tuesday’s games.
MANCHESTER CITY V BARCELONA
- City reached the last 16 on the back of an impressive escape act in Group E. They had taken only two points from their first four fixtures but then beat Bayern Munich and AS Roma to snatch second place.
- Their last-gasp 3-2 comeback victory over Bayern on match day five was just their third win in their last ten European home fixtures.
- City’s home record against Spanish clubs is W2 D2 L1. Sergio Aguero has scored in his last two home games for City against Liga visitors – the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid (2012/13) and 2-1 win over Villarreal (2011/12).
- While City are seeking to make the quarter-finals for the first time, in Manuel Pellegrini they have a coach who has been there with Villarreal (2006, 2009) and Malaga (2012).
- Four-time European champions Barcelona are pursuing an eighth successive quarter-final appearance.
- Barcelona lost their first away match in this campaign at Paris Saint-Germain (2-3) but subsequently won at Ajax (2-0) and APOEL (4-0).
- The Blaugrana’s victory at City last year was their first in five trips to Manchester – the first four were at Old Trafford against Manchester United. It was also their first success on English soil since a 3-1 UCL final triumph over United at Wembley in May 2011.
- Barcelona’s record away to English opposition is W7 D8 L14.
JUVENTUS V DORTMUND
- After advancing as Group A runners-up behind Atletico Madrid, Juventus are looking to reach only their second UCL quarter-final since 2006. Their most recent appearance at this stage came in 2012/13 when they defeated Celtic (5-0 agg).
- Massimiliano Allegri’s men are unbeaten in ten home matches in UEFA competition, including their Group A victories over Malmo (2-0) and Olympiacos (3-2) before Christmas.
- Overall, the Bianconeri have lost just one of 15 European home fixtures at the redeveloped Juventus Stadium (W8 D6 L1).
- Juventus’s home record against Bundesliga clubs is W14 D2 L5.
- Juve lost their last two home matches against German visitors – against Bayern Munich in the 2012/13 quarter-finals (0-2) and the 2009/10 group stage (1-4).
- Buffon is the only survivor of their last home success against a German side: 2-1 against Werder Bremen in the 2005/06 round of 16 second leg.
- Overall Juventus have a strong record in two-legged encounters with German sides: P15 W12 L3.
- Jurgen Klopp’s men are in the last 16 for the third year running after finishing ahead of Arsenal at the top of Group D.
- Dortmund have won five of their last seven UCL away games. In this season’s competition, they won 3-0 at Anderlecht and 4-0 at Galatasaray prior to a 2-0 loss at Arsenal.
- Dortmund’s record in Italy is W4 D1 L9. Their most recent visit brought a 2-1 defeat at Napoli on match day one last season.
- Dortmund last won in Italy in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round, albeit that 2-0 victory over Udinese (agg 2-2) was followed by a 4-3 loss on penalties.