Manchester City will hope to take a step closer to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals when they face Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final on Tuesday.
The 2020/21 UEFA Champions League returns to action this week with the first leg of the quarter-finals. On Tuesday, there will be two exciting match-ups taking place as the champions of Spain, Real Madrid host the champions of England, Liverpool. The second one will play out at the Etihad Stadium where a rampant Manchester City side will lock horns with Bundesliga’s perennial bridesmaids, Borussia Dortmund.
Manchester City, after a dodgy start to the season, have been in near-unstoppable form. Pep Guardiola’s side look certain to lift the Premier League title and are still alive in all three cup competitions, with talks of an unprecedented quadruple doing the rounds again.
Having topped Group C with an unbeaten record, the Cityzens saw off Borussia Monchengladbach in the Round of 16 with a 4-0 aggregate scoreline. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Manchester City are on a five-game winning run beating Leicester City this past weekend in the league.
Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, have had a mixed bag of fortunes under interim manager Edin Terzic. Hopes of a top-four finish in the Bundesliga this season continue to fade following their most recent defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt. That result meant BVB have won just one of their last four games (D2 L2).
But the Black and Yellows could still end the season with a trophy as they are in the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal and the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Having finished as winners of Group F, Dortmund toughed it out against Sevilla in the last round, edging them out 5-4 on aggregate to set up a date with Manchester City.
The last time these two sides met was in the UEFA Champions League group stages in 2012/13, with Dortmund picking up a 1-0 win at the Etihad. Ahead of their latest clash on Tuesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Prep done for Dortmund! 💪
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 5, 2021
Heading into the game, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has no injury or suspension concerns and will have a full squad at his disposal. There will, however, be some changes made to the team that took the field against Leicester City at the weekend.
No change will be made between the sticks though, with Ederson the obvious starter. Ruben Dias is another player who continues to be one of the first names on the teamsheet for Guardiola. He will have a change of partners, though, with John Stones expected to replace Aymeric Laporte. It will certainly be interesting to see how the two cope with Erling Haaland.
Joao Cancelo should return to the lineup, slotting in at right-back while Oleksandr Zinchenko should replace Benjamin Mendy at left-back despite the Frenchman’s impressive display last time out. The full-back duo will alternate between bombing down the flank and dropping into midfield to support the holding midfielder, who ought to be Rodri.
Ilkay Gundogan should return to the lineup against his former club and look to provide an added presence in the final third with his late runs from midfield. Kevin De Bruyne will occupy the third slot in the middle of the park and act as City’s chief creator.
Raheem Sterling is an absolute starter but could find himself playing centrally on Tuesday to make room for Phil Foden out on the left flank. Riyad Mahrez should hold on to his spot on the right-wing ahead of Bernardo Silva and Ferran Torres.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Sterling, Foden
There will be no homecoming for former Manchester City academy man Jadon Sancho, who remains sidelined with an injury. Apart from the England international, Edin Terzic will also be without Dan-Axel Zagadou, Marcel Schmelzer and Axel Witsel while young striker Youssoufa Moukoko has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
Youssoufa Moukoko will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a ligament injury in his foot.
Get well soon, YM! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/pg4sGb8jfR
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) April 5, 2021
Terzic, in recent games, has preferred to play in a 4-1-4-1 formation with one sitting midfielder and two ball-carriers. And, he is likely to stick with that setup against Manchester City, with Thomas Delaney being the defensive midfielder behind Jude Bellingham and Mahmoud Dahoud, who will be tasked with offering the forward thrust and creativity.
Further attacking support will come from the wide areas through Thorgan Hazard on the right and Marco Reus on the left. The latter, though, will drift into central areas more often than not to leave spaces open for left-back Raphael Guerreiro to make his trademark forward runs and hit in crosses for striker Erling Haaland.
Emre Can was utilised as a right-back in the last game against Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of Thomas Meunier and that might turn out to be the case again, with Manuel Akanji and Mats Hummels, who worked with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, lining up at the centre of the defence. Marwin Hitz will be manning the goal for the visitors.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Hitz; Can, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Delaney; Hazard, Bellingham, Dahoud, Reus; Haaland
- Manchester City have won seven of their last eight matches in the UEFA Champions League. The Cityzens have managed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last seven games in the competition.
- Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten in their last seven games in the Champions League. The German giants have netted at least two goals in six of those seven matches.
- Manchester City are without a win in their two competitive fixtures against Borussia Dortmund, drawing one and losing one during the group stages of the 2012/13 Champions League.
- This is Borussia Dortmund’s first quarter-finals appearance in the UEFA Champions League since the 2016/17 season when they lost 6-3 on aggregate to AS Monaco.
- Manchester City have lost four of their five matches at the quarter-finals stages of the Champions League under Pep Guardiola. They have been eliminated at this stage in each of the last three seasons.
Player to Watch
Erling Haaland walking onto the Etihad pitch for the first time 👀
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 5, 2021
Who else but the man who is being chased by almost every top club in Europe, including Manchester City. Indeed, the Cityzens are said to be keen on signing Haaland from Borussia Dortmund in the summer as the long-term heir to Sergio Aguero. And Tuesday’s fixture will give them a chance to get a closer look at him.
From a sporting perspective, Haaland is Dortmund’s most important player and his goals have been the driving force behind their run in the Champions League. Indeed, the 20-year-old is the leading goalscorer in the competition this term, bagging 10 goals in just 6 games.
But going up against a Manchester City side that boasts one of the best defences in Europe this term would be a huge challenge for the 20-year-old Norwegian international. His performance, without a doubt, will have a huge bearing on the outcome of the result on Tuesday night.
Manchester City 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
Manchester City have been in imperious form for a long time now with the defeat against Manchester United in the Premier League being the only blip. Going up against a Borussia Dortmund side that has looked sloppy in defence and unconvincing in attack in the absence of Jadon Sancho, Pep Guardiola’s men are the outright favourites and should pick up an easy win.
However, the Black and Yellows could get an away goal thanks to Erling Haaland, which may come in handy if things go their way in the second leg.