City won every trophy available in England last season and have won the last two Premier League titles, accruing record points haul of 100 in 2017-18.
But success in Europe has so far alluded the club, with their 2016 run to the semi-finals the closest they have to come to lifting the trophy.
On that occasion they were knocked out by Real Madrid, who went onto win the competition, and the two sides face each other again the last-16 of this year's competition, with the first leg on Wednesday.
Madrid have won the trophy a record 13 times, but De Bruyne insists City will travel to Santiago Bernabeu playing their normal game.
“Obviously it's Madrid. They have won the most Champions Leagues out of everybody," the City midfielder said. "But I think we will go there to try to play our game like we always do and try to play offensive football, try to put them under pressure, try to have a good game and, if we can, win."
The trip to the Spanish capital is followed by a third successive Carabao Cup final, but De Bruyne believes that domestic success will not change some critics' perceptions of their season.
"If we don't win it [the Champions League] everybody is going to say we are failures like the last five years!" he added. "It's something we've not won yet. We always want to win everything but sometimes another team is better or performing well – like Liverpool are doing this season.
"It's just that way and you just have to admit it. But we will just go there to win that game. You can't look too much forwards and see what's going to happen."
Meanwhile, De Bruyne says he is ready to take over penalty duty if required, although Sergio Aguero is set to carry on with the responsibility despite his miss against Leicester on Saturday.
City have missed their last four spot-kicks, and asked if it was a worry, De Bruyne admitted: "If you win the games 'no' but if you lose points 'yes'.
"It's maybe a rough patch for the moment but I think there have been periods where we scored a lot of penalties. It happens. We want to put them in, but it's a period where we're missing a few.
"It can happen to everybody, so it's stupid to blame them. Obviously if you miss you feel a little bad."
De Bruyne has taken only one penalty for City back in 2016, which was saved by Everton's Maarten Stekelenburg, but he would not shirk the opportunity again if he was asked.
"Yeah, why not? I don't really care," he added. "For me I think it's important for strikers to have them because it helps their goals tally.
"It doesn't affect me that much but if they want me to step up, I will. That's obviously something for the technical staff to decide."