Man City Women get their 2017/18 UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign underway tonight as they face Austrian side SKN St. Pölten at the NV Arena in the Round of 32.
Following last season’s outstanding run to the semi-finals, where City were beaten by eventual winners Olympique Lyonnais, the Blues find themselves seeded in the competition for the first time. As a result, City have home advantage in the second leg.
Cushing’s side will be aiming to make it three wins from three games in all competitions, and after the fantastic 5-2 victory over title rivals Arsenal Women at the weekend, confidence going into the game will be high.
Speaking to the BBC, Jen Beattie highlighted that City will look to utilise their experience, “We know they are a really competitive side. Any team who qualifies for the Champions League are of a really high quality.
“Playing against top teams like Lyon last season, we became very adaptable.
“We were able to raise our game even more for those games so we’re looking to use that experience this season.”
City Team News
Surprisingly, City sustained no injuries against Arsenal and so expect the starting XI to remain unchanged bar one or two possible changes.
Tessel Middag, Mie Leth Jans and Karen Bardsley are not expected to make the squad for tonight’s game as they’re still recovering from injury.
Boosts for City may come from the potential involvement of Mel Lawley and Pauline Bremer. The former recently started training again and may be fit enough to make the bench. Meanwhile, Pauline Bremer recovered from a slight groin injury in time to make her WSL debut against Arsenal and could make her City UWCL debut tonight.
SKN St. Pölten play in the ÖFB-Frauenliga and hail from the city of Sankt Pölten, which is around an hour outside of Austria’s capital, Vienna.
Playing under the banner of ASV Spratzern for 7 years following their inception in 2006, the hosts then plied their trade as FSK St. Pölten-Spratzern between 2013 and 2016. Joining forces with Austrian Bundesliga outfit SKN St. Pölten after the 2015-16 season, the sides have played under a united name ever since.
The Austrian side won their first domestic title in 2015 and have defended their title for two seasons in a row, most recently finishing 4 points clear of rivals SK Sturm Graz in 2016-17 on their way to completing a domestic double.
St. Pölten currently sit at the top of the ÖFB-Frauenliga table on goal difference with their most recent win coming last week – 3-0 over the struggling Union Kleinmünchen.
City Player to Watch
Izzy Christiansen. Has been instrumental to City’s play over the past two matches and will want to get her Champions League campaign off to a flying start. Christiansen has scored two goals in two games and given her current form, there’s no reason why she can’t pop up with another goal tonight and keep that run going.
SKN St. Pölten 0 – 3 Man City Women
SKN St. Pölten v Man City Women. KO 19:15 GMT. NV Arena, Sankt Pölten.
The match will be streamed live on Facebook, so keep an eye on our Twitter account where we will be tweeting details nearer KO.