Borussia Dortmund are hoping to stage a comeback as they welcome Manchester City for a Champions League clash at the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday.
It has been a rather grim start to the month for Borussia Dortmund, whose crumbling hopes of securing a top-four finish in the Bundesliga was followed by a late goal against Manchester City, giving the English giants a huge advantage heading into the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday.
The Black and Yellows, though, are still pretty much in the game as they did score a vital away goal. It means they can go through to the next round with a simple 1-0 victory over Manchester City this midweek and have every reason to be high on confidence, after securing a marvellous comeback win over VfB Stuttgart on the weekend.
Manchester City, in contrast, suffered their fourth defeat of the campaign in their recent game against Leeds United. It was a difficult match for the runaway Premier League leaders, who struggled to create anything as 10-men Leeds United stole all three points through a late winner from Stuart Dallas.
Pep Guardiola’s men will be looking to right the wrongs when they travel to Germany in midweek, though Borussia Dortmund could be an even tougher nut to crack. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we are taking a look at both these sides ahead of their highly awaited match-up at the Signal Iduna Park .
Team News & Tactics
Marco Reus and Mats Hummels both have joined the team for final training session ahead of upcoming match-day against Manchester City today and thus seem to be able to play tomorrow.#BVB pic.twitter.com/Iz1POSpFYO
— BVB Newsblog (@bvbnewsblog) April 13, 2021
With a Champions League semi-final place at stake, Borussia Dortmund simply have no room for error, especially in the defensive unit knowing even one goal can cancel out their away-goal advantage while two should force them to score goals – an improbable ask against this Manchester City side.
Fortunately for Edin Terzic, hopes are high that Mats Hummels will return to the fray after being subbed off at half-time time against Stuttgart due to a stomach issue. His experience and ability to play the ball out from the back could be critical alongside Manuel Akanji at the heart of the BVB backline.
Mateu Morey, linked with Barcelona recently, should continue at right-back getting the nod ahead of Thomas Meunier. The young Spaniard, though, is likely to operate in a far deeper role compared to Raphael Guerreiro on the opposite flank, with the Portuguese, in contrast, hoping to offer the creative essence with his marauding runs into the final third.
Emre Can could be another vital lynchpin in the Dortmund midfield. Although the former Liverpool man is likely to start as a holding midfielder on paper, he is expected to oscillate between a number six and as an auxiliary centre-back, dropping deep especially when Guerreiro moves forward.
Can will be partnered by the two talented ball-carriers in Jude Bellingham and Mahmoud Dahoud. They are set to play a key role not only in the second line of press but also in transition.
And finally, in the attacking department, Dortmund will be pinning their hopes on Erling Haaland and captain Marco Reus. As for the remaining slot, Ansgar Knauff is a favourite but it appears the youngster is better utilised as a super-sab, which means Giovanni Reyna may earn a start in the wide-attacking role as BVB continue to cope with the absence of Jadon Sancho.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hitz; Morey, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Can, Dahoud; Reyna, Haaland, Reus
Pep Guardiola made a host of changes to the side that faced Leeds United, resting several key players including Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri.
The midfield trio could return to the fray against Dortmund, however, with De Bruyne, in particular, once again hoping to spill his magic on the proceedings. Indeed, his ability to capitalise on defensive errors and offer those defence-splitting passes should serve as the main source of creativity for a Manchester City attack that could be led by Raheem Sterling.
Our travelling squad for Dortmund is confirmed ✈️
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 13, 2021
The main focal point of the attack, however, will be the two wingers in Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden, with Guardiola also having the option of deploying Gabriel Jesus as a super-sub. Alternatively, the Brazilian could spearhead the attack ahead of Sterling.
Either way, Manchester City will emphasise defensive solidity in the early parts of the game and later dominate the proceedings with an abundance of possession. They may also look to pressure the Dortmund ball-carriers, preventing them any time to settle.
Speaking of defensive solidity, Guardiola could ring in the changes in the backline, with Kyle Walker and Ruben Dias returning to their respective posts while Joao Cancelo should shift to the left-back position. He could act as the auxiliary central midfielder if required, giving Man City a numerical advantage in the build-up.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Rodri; Mahrez, de Bruyne, Gundogan, Foden; Sterling
- Erling Haaland is the top scorer in this season’s Champions League with 10 goals, two clear of PSG’s Kylian Mbappe.
- Man City’s 15-goal top scorer Ilkay Gündogan won the Bundesliga with Dortmund under Klopp in 2012 and left for England in 2016 with 156 BVB appearances under his belt.
- Jadon Sancho made the opposite journey in 2017 and has since racked up 70 goals and 71 assists in all competitions for Die Schwarzgelben.
- In UEFA Champions League history, the side winning the first leg of a knockout stage 2-1 at home has been eliminated (15) more often than they’ve progressed (12).
- Had Jude Bellingham’s goal stood in the first leg, Dortmund might have extended their undefeated run against City to three games. They won 1-0 and drew 1-1 in the 2012/13 group stage.
Player to Watch
Marco Reus rolled back the years with performance against Manchester City in the first leg. He worked very hard for his team, offering a lot of tenacity and aggression in the build-up while also leading the team from the front. The attacker was eventually rewarded with a late goal that could play a vital role in the context of this game.
Reus continued his form on the weekend as well, breaking his Bundesliga scoring duck against Stuttgart. And with Erling Haaland struggling to find the back of the net in recent weeks, the onus will once again be on the Dortmund captain to deliver in front of goal, especially in a game where Die Schwarzgelben are unlikely to create too many scoring opportunities.
Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Manchester City
Borussia Dortmund undoubtedly possess a mighty attacking unit that is more than capable of unsettling the Manchester City defence. However, we expect the Sky Blues to weather the storm in this particular affair, remaining patient with their play before unleashing their quality in the final third, especially when the Dortmund get frustrated and weary. Another 2-1 win for Pep Guardiola & co. is what The Hard Tackle predicts, taking them through to the semi-finals.