Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has warned his players that they will be in for a tough test against Villarreal on Wednesday.
City travel to Spain with their hopes of qualification still intact after Sergio Aguero’s late, late leveller against the same opposition two weeks ago.
However, they have yet to win in the competition this season after drawing at home to Napoli in their opening game and then losing 2-0 away at Bayern Munch – a match remembered more for Carlos Tevez’s apparent refusal to warm-up (or play – depending on your point of view).
The club know that three points in this encounter are vital if they are to defy the football betting and make the knock-out stages in what is their first appearance in this format of the competition.
Villarreal - who finished third last year - are struggling in La Liga this season. Their manager Juan Carlos Garrido is under severe pressure and their star play Guiseppe Rossi out for six months with a knee injury.
The Champions League odds suggest City and their expensively assembled all star line-up will come out on top, but Mancini is not taking anything for granted.
"That goal [Sergio Aguero's late winner] was really important. It is not easy to play against Villarreal,” said the Italian.
"They are a good team, used to playing in the Champions League. Also, when they played against us in Manchester, they did very well.
"Many top teams have played at El Madrigal and had big problems. The supporters are very close to the teams, and Villarreal when they play at home are a strong team."