Basel vs Manchester City - Leroy Sane in line for early return to action in Basel

Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2018 by PA

Basel vs Manchester City - Leroy Sane in line for early return to action in Basel

Leroy Sane could make a dramatic return to action when Manchester City resume their Champions League campaign in Basel on Tuesday.

The runaway Premier League leaders will go into the first leg of the last-16 tie in Switzerland full of confidence, with captain Vincent Kompany believing the club are now ready to win the competition.

Winger Sane was initially ruled out for up to seven weeks when he suffered ankle ligament damage in quadruple-chasing City’s FA Cup victory at Cardiff on January 28.

But the German has made a rapid recovery and proved his fitness to travel with the squad on Monday morning.

Manager Pep Guardiola said: “I’m surprised. He has worked a lot, but I didn’t expect with a young guy how professional he was.

“He is not in perfect condition but he is with us. He wants to help us. That is good news. He and the physios did a good job.”

Kompany spoke with great authority when asked about City’s growing maturity as a team.

The Belgian, despite his numerous injury setbacks, has been at the heart of City’s development over the past decade and feels they are now at home in the Champions League after many past frustrations.

The 31-year-old defender said: “We’ve been caught out on occasions when we shouldn’t have but I think things have changed now.

“If there is a year, a time, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home in the competition then it’s now.

“I’m not going to say it’s a matter of time because some clubs never win it but, if every year we can go in with this kind of confidence, then if not this year, or next year, eventually we’ll get there. I’m sure of it.”

Basel coach Raphael Wicky is confident his side can spring a surprise.

The Swiss Super League champions face a daunting task and Wicky accepts Basel are likely to see much less of the ball than City, but he is not fazed by the challenge.

The former Switzerland international, whose side beat Manchester United during the group stage, said: “If we are to fight in such competitions we need a perfect game, a perfect day and to show a lot of courage. We need the spectators to help us too.

“So we need a perfect night to stage a surprise but we have the belief we can do it.

“We have to be realistic. We won’t have 50-60 per cent ball possession. That’s clear, no team has that against them.

“We need to be compact and be careful but there will be moments when we have the ball. We have to show courage and try to be active.”

Wicky concedes he has “no real tactical strategy” to combat a City side that have shown few flaws this season, losing only twice in all competitions.

Wicky said of City: “I think the team has, basically, no weaknesses. They show that every three days in all the competitions they participate in.”

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