Striker was becoming more of an all-round Guardiola player by the end of last term but has reverted to cutting-edge specialist

As the players of Manchester City and RB Leipzig stood in the tunnel at the Red Bull Arena before kick-off on Wednesday night, the usual flip-chart of clenched jaws and event-horizon stares, Erling Haaland could be seen lolling out last in line from the City dressing room.

Haaland spotted the equally blond and chiselled Xaver Schlager, a teammate from RB Salzburg days, crept up behind him and enveloped him in a kind of laughing Nordic bro-hug, beaming with such tender, tactile bonhomie, you half-expected him to pick the Austrian up by the scruff, lick his ears, pick some briars out of his fur and take him back to his ice cave.

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