The 1990 World Cup winner believes City will thrash Schalke in their Champions League last-16 second leg on Tuesday, but Pep Guardiola disagrees
German football legend Lothar Matthaus says Manchester City could play a second-string side against Schalke and still reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
Raheem Sterling’s 90th-minute goal secured a 3-2 win at the Veltins Arena and ensured City have a lead to hold on to heading into their last-16 second leg clash tonight.
Pep Guardiola’s men will be without suspended duo Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho when Schalke visit the Etihad Stadium, but 1990 World Cup winner Matthaus thinks Schalke, who are just four points above the Bundesliga relegation zone, will lose 3-0 to City.
He told The Sun: “I know City fans are concerned they are without Fernandinho and a few defenders.
“Maybe they are looking at what happened with Manchester United in Paris last week and starting to worry that something similar might happen.
“But they do not need to be worried. Pep Guardiola could play with his entire second team against Schalke and still win.
“Schalke are not a Champions League standard side. If they had any chance of an upset, they blew it in the first leg.
“They had a man extra, were 2-1 up against the run of play and somehow managed to still lose. They killed themselves.
“The real Schalke is not the one that was leading in the first leg but the one that lost 4-0 to Dusseldorf ten days ago and 4-2 to Bremen on Friday. Now the whole club is a mess.”
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Last week, Ajax stunned current Champions League holders Real Madrid by knocking them out of the competition before a depleted Manchester United side pulled off an unlikely upset against Paris Saint-Germain.
And Guardiola is refusing to take Schalke lightly after those shock results.
The City manager said: “We have a tendency – myself as well – that when we see the draw we always say who is going to win. After the first leg, everybody ‘knows’ who is going to win the second one.
“But a week ago we didn’t expect PSG would happen, or Real Madrid.
“Every game is completely different but for people who say there is nothing to do – one sent off, one red card, one goal in the first minute, many things can happen in 90 minutes in this kind of competition.
“I am sitting here thinking we still have work to do, that’s my feeling today.”