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Champions League group stage recap: Man City show champion quality

Reigning champions Manchester City recorded six wins from six games to reach the knockout stage in style.

All Man City's Champions League goals so far

Manchester City's defence of their UEFA Champions League title got off to the perfect start as they won every game in Group G, scoring three goals on each occasion to comfortably top their section.

Round of 16: Copenhagen vs Man City

Campaign so far

Highlights: Crvena zvezda 2-3 Man City

Group G winners: W6 D0 L0 F18 A7
Top scorer: Erling Haaland (5)

19/09: Man City 3-1 Crvena zvezda – Álvarez 47 60, Rodri 73; Bukari 45
04/10
: Leipzig 1-3 Man City – Openda 48; Foden 25, Álvarez 84, Doku 90+2
25/10
: Young Boys 1-3 Man City – Elia 52; Akanji 48, Haaland 67 (p) 86
07/11: Man City 3-0 Young Boys – Haaland 23 (p) 51, Foden 45+1
28/11: Man City 3-2 Leipzig – Haaland 54, Foden 70, Álvarez 87; Openda 13 33
13/12: Crvena zvezda 2-3 Man City – IB Hwang 76, Katai 90+1; Hamilton 19, Bobb 62, Phillips 85 (p)

Campaign in ten words: Formidable defending champions proving title will not be relinquished easily.

UEFA.com reporter's view

If any signal of intent was needed that back-to-back Champions League trophies are in City's sights, it came with a trademark show of firepower that brought three goals in each of their six group games as they qualified with an ominous swagger. Whether City go in front or go 2-0 behind, as they did against Leipzig, victory seemingly always follows. Erling Haaland and Julián Álvarez scored five and four goals respectively, but it's City's team ethic which is the real star of the show.

How do Man City play?

Generally, they line up as a 4-1-4-1, but that's only the beginning of the story. Inverted full-backs, central defenders stepping into midfield and wingers darting inside and outside their markers – on-song City are an unstoppable force. Pep Guardiola demands a lot from his players and they usually deliver with Rico Lewis a case in point. Right-back Lewis has moved into midfield with ease during passages of play, a perfect example of the fluidity and versatility Guardiola demands from his stars.

Fantasy star performers

Phil Foden – 38 points
Erling Haaland – 37 points
Rico Lewis – 27 points

Highlights: Man City 3-2 Leipzig

Key stats

• On Matchday 6, Man City extended their unbeaten run in Europe to 20 matches – a new record for an English side.

• Haaland's Matchday 5 goal against Leipzig made him the quickest (35 games) and the youngest (23 years 130 days) to 40 goals in the competition.

• Man City are unbeaten in their last 28 Champions League matches in their own stadium (W26 D2), since a 2-1 loss to Lyon on Matchday 1 in 2018/19. They have also never failed to score in a home match in the Champions League group stage (39 games).

Squad changes

In: none
Out: Kalvin Phillips

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