Ake’s hamstring injury means Manuel Akanji is again entrusted down the left side of defence facing up to Rodrygo, while Kyle Walker marks the threat of Vinicius Jr.
John Stones was, like De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva, rested for the weekend win at Everton so returns to assume his hybrid defensive-midfield role in City’s fluid 3-2-4-1 formation.
The big decision facing Guardiola was whether to start Silva or Riyad Mahrez down the right wing, and he has opted once again for Silva. Mahrez is named on the bench, along with the likes of Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden.
Speaking ahead of the game, Guardiola revealed a plan to be “more different” in attack but insisted he will not “overthink” his tactics and shake up his system too much.
“The players have to make an incredible performance to beat Madrid,” he told reporters.
“I have an idea to be more different, more fluid in attack. It will happen naturally at home, we feel free, it doesn't matter and we go. That's the feeling we have: be ourselves.”
Starting XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Stones, Akanji, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva, Grealish, Haaland
Subs: Ortega, Carson, Phillips, Laporte, Alvarez, Gomez, Mahrez, Foden, Palmer, Lewis