Finishing fourth in last season’s Premier League meant Manchester City would not automatically qualify for this year’s Champions League group stages.
And though manager Pep Guardiola had no say in City’s final position last year – he has been left with the task of having to beat Steaua Bucharest over two legs in order to compete with Europe’s elite this season.
So what do we know about City’s opposition?
Although Steaua have played against English sides on 18 previous occasions, they’ve never faced Manchester City – and while their record against teams in England isn’t the greatest (winning just five times), perhaps one thing that will concern City fans is that each of those wins have come on home soil.
Bucharest saw off a strong Sparta Prague side in the third qualifying round – winning 3-1 on aggregate, and they currently sit top of the Romanian top-flight with three wins from their first three fixtures.
You have to go back to November 2015 when Roș-Albaștrii last lost a competitive fixture on home soil, and their form towards the tail end of last season led them to a second-placed finish, meaning they’d qualified for the Champions League for the fourth consecutive year.
And how will Guardiola’s men fare?
The Citizens will be without Yaya Toure, who hasn’t travelled with the squad. But that shouldn’t matter too much as they head into this tie having never lost in Romania.
Granted, they’ve only been there once before, back in 2010, but with the away side being priced up at 10/21 to take a win back with them to Manchester, it’s hard to see a way past Sergio Aguero and co.
Nicolae Stanciu was perhaps the standout player in Bucharest’s side last year, scoring 12 goals in 28 league games, and he’s 10/1 to be the unlikely first goalscorer in this fixture.
Meanwhile, Aguero will be looking to add to his 21 European goals in a City shirt, and we’re offering odds of 13/5 for him to net the first goal.
The last time Man City played on Romanian soil, they beat FC Timişoara thanks to a goal from Mario Balotelli. Though Super Mario won’t be on the scoresheet this time out, it’s 14/1 for a repeat of that scoreline with Aguero grabbing the winner.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.