The Premier League leaders are yet to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League during Pep Guardiola’s reign, only previously doing so under Manuel Pellegrini, and have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in the past three seasons.
Borussia Dortmund host Manchester City in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League 2020-21 quarter-finals at the Signal Iduna Park in the small hours of Thursday (as per Indian Standard Time).
The German club will look to overturn a 2-1 deficit after losing to the Premier League leaders in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium last week.
However, Edin Terzic‘s side has been very inconsistent in the recent past, winning only two of their last five games across all competitions.
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Dortmund vs Man City
Man City take a narrow 2-1 lead into the second leg at the Westfalenstadion thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden. But Dortmund do have the initial advantage of the away goal, scored by Marco Reus, so Edin Terzic’s side know a 1-0 win would be enough to see them become the latest team to knock Man City out of the Champions League quarter-finals.
The two teams had differing results at the weekend, with Man City losing 2-1 to 10-man Leeds United at home, while Dortmund beat Stuttgart 3-2 on the road. But this is the Champions League.
1. Predicted Borussia Dortmund XI
As we head to the second leg there is still uncertainty surrounding the involvement of Jadon Sancho. The Englishman has been out of action since the start of March with a muscle injury and missed the chance for a return to the Etihad last week. He has now returned to training but the second leg could still be too soon for Sancho to make his comeback – if he is involved, it’ll be from the substitute’s bench at the very most.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Dortmund go for a similar starting XI to the one from the first leg, with Ansgar Knauff filling in for Sancho on the right wing, fresh from his first Bundesliga goal at the weekend, and replacing Gio Reyna. He will join Erling Haaland and Marco Reus in attack, with the latter expected to recover from a knock picked up in the win over Stuttgart.
In the midfield, there is no dropping Jude Bellingham who was excellent in the first leg and had a goal harshly ruled out for an apparent foul on Ederson. He did finally score in the Bundesliga at the weekend though, getting his first goal like Knauff, and will go into this game with even more confidence than he already has. The young Englishman will be everywhere in midfield, accompanied by Mahmoud Dahoud to continue their burgeoning partnership.
But who joins them will be an interesting topic. Emre Can was the man in the middle in the first leg but the former Liverpool midfielder had a tough evening, giving the ball away in the build up for Man City’s opening goal and generally overrun. He was replaced at the weekend by Thomas Delaney who looked shaky defensively at times, something that could affect Terzic’s decision.
The back five are unlikely to change from last week, or the weekend, with Mats Hummels expected to recover from a stomach problem that caused him to come off at half-time against Stuttgart.
2. Predicted Man City XI
Guardiola often flicks between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 for his starting formations (not that his teams ever stick like that in-match) and used both in his past two games. Against Dortmund it was a 4-2-3-1 while Leeds were given the 4-3-3, a formation that allows him to work his magic when the right players are implemented. But who are the right players?
The Man City manager did leave some hints to his Dortmund team in the XI he put out to face Leeds at the weekend, with the likes of Ferran Torres, Nathan Ake, Benjamin Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fernandinho starting. None of those five are likely to start in Germany as Guardiola will return to his strongest XI to complete the job, potentially in that 4-2-3-1.
Ruben Dias should return to the defence to partner John Stones, flanked by Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo, with the latter on the left with the view to moving further up the pitch when Man City are in possession. In front of them, Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri will form the double pivot that could turn into a trio when joined by Cancelo.
Then the front four probably pick themselves right now. Guardiola doesn’t appear too fond of using Gabriel Jesus as his starting striker in the biggest matches, so Bernardo Silva may play as the false nine, rotating with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez to fill the central attacking spot. And they should be joined by Phil Foden, who was excellent in the first leg.
3. Haaland to bounce back
There may be another player known as Mr Champions League right now, but Erling Haaland appears to be on the long journey to usurping him. The Norwegian has been nothing short of phenomenal in the Champions League since his competition debut for Red Bull Salzburg at the start of last season.
So far, Haaland has only failed to score in just three of his 15 Champions League games for Salzburg and Dortmund, scoring 20 goals during that time. The teams to have prevented Haaland scoring as things stand are Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Man City last week.
However, those Liverpool and PSG record come with asterisks of sorts. Liverpool stopped Haaland from scoring in a 2-0 win at the end of last season’s group stage, but had already conceded to the Norwegian in their first meeting with Salzburg, an exciting 4-3 win for Jurgen Klopp’s side. And PSG’s clean sheet against Haaland came in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie last season after Haaland had scored twice in the first leg to give Dortmund a 2-1 lead.
So Man City stand alone in being the only Champions League opponent Haaland has faced without scoring, but the Norwegian doesn’t let teams off lightly and, with the added the motivation of ending his joint-longest drought in the competition (one game) he could trouble the Citizens this week.
Relevant Sky Bet odds for Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City:
- Erling Haaland to score anytime (90 mins) 6/5
- Erling Haaland to score first (90 mins) 7/2
- Erling Haaland to score 2+ goals (90 mins) 6/1
(Odds in this article are correct at the time of writing. 18+ only, BeGambleAware.org)
4. De Bruyne to run the show
For all the young talent on display in the first leg, it was Kevin De Bruyne who ran the show, opening the scoring and starting the move that led to Phil Foden’s winner. It may be weird, or slightly sobering, to think about, but De Bruyne turns 30 this summer and it won’t be long before we start talking about him as one of the game’s veterans.
But that doesn’t mean we start looking towards the end of his career, with the Belgian still very much near his peak and capable of pulling this Man City side towards the Champions League final. De Bruyne has scarcely featured in the Champions League this season, with Guardiola sticking to his rotational policy in the group stage, but he has still managed to record four assists in four appearances (second only to Juan Cuadrado in the overall standings).
This season he has also added two goals, to be directly involved in 1.56 goals per 90 minutes, a better return than any other Man City player and second in this particular tie behind only Haaland. Last week De Bruyne pulled the strings from a more advanced no.10 role, a position he hasn’t actually been used in too much over his Man City spell, instead playing in a slightly deeper midfield role (not that it ever hampered his creativity).
But with De Bruyne starting closer to the Dortmund goal, and higher up the pitch in the defensive phase, he is able to be more of a creative influence particularly when Man City are playing without a recognised striker.
5. Can Dortmund turn the tie around?
As briefly mentioned earlier, Dortmund do only need to win 1-0 on Wednesday to secure their spot in the Champions League semi-finals, thanks to Reus’ late away goal last week. But it won’t be that simple for the German side, who like to make things harder than necessary for themselves.
Even with Man City’s defensive record, keeping a clean sheet in each of their last four Champions League away goals, we can almost certainly count on Dortmund scoring. The German side haven’t failed to find the net in their past 39 games across all competitions, a run which stretches back to a 2-0 Bundesliga defeat to Augsburg at the end of September.
However, Dortmund are also without a clean sheet in the Champions League in their past five games, conceding eight goals including two in each of their last three matches.
But history does appear to be on their side. In the Champions League, a side has won the first leg of a knockout stage tie on 27 different occasions. Fifteen of those have seen that team eliminated, compared to 12 progressions.
Relevant Sky Bet odds for Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City:
- Both teams to score (90 mins) 1/2
- Borussia Dortmund to qualify 9/2
- Man City to qualify 1/8
Borussia Dortmund secured a 3-2 win against VfB Stuttgart during the weekend, which will give them some belief going into the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg.
Meanwhile, Manchester City suffered a shocking defeat against Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday. Pep Guardiola will hope that his men can quickly get over the loss and secure their semi-final place in Europe’s elite football competition.
In the Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City head-to-head record in the UEFA Champions League, both the teams have won one game apiece while one match ended in a stalemate.
Borussia Dortmund team and injury news
Ahead of the second leg, Borussia Dortmund suffered a massive blow as their star winger Jadon Sancho was ruled out of the encounter against his former club Man City.
Furthermore, captain Marco Reus is also doubtful after the 31-year-old limped off injured in the second half against Stuttgart.
Dortmund will also miss the services of Axel Witsel, Dan-Axel Zagadou and Youssoufa Moukoko.
Manchester City team and injury news
Manchester City star striker Sergio Aguero and defender Aymeric Laporte are both doubtful for the second leg clash against Borussia Dortmund.
Apart from these injury concerns, Manchester City will have a full-strength team to pick from against the Bundesliga giants.
Where to watch Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City live in India?
The Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City UCL match will be telecast live at 12:30 AM IST on Sony TEN 1 and Sony TEN 1 HD TV channels in India, on Thursday, April 15.
Live streaming of Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City will be available on SonyLIV along with other UEFA Champions League quarter-final clashes.
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For Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City football odds and betting, visit Sportsbet.io and look under Top Events – International Clubs – UEFA Champions League.