• Thomas Barnes

Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund preview.

Updated: Apr 5

Manchester City will face German outfit Borussia Dortmund in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League.

With many backing them to complete the quadruple this season, Manchester City will be hoping to put an end to their quarter-final curse under Pep Guardiola. The English Champions elect are favourites to go the distance in this year’s Champions League, and their performances up to now fully justify why they take this position. Manchester City remains unbeaten in their European campaign this year as well as only conceding one goal.

It has been a reoccurring theme that City’s defence has been a key inhibitor in City’s recent charges to win their first Champions League. With the addition of Ruben Dias and the revitalisation of John Stones, Pep Guardiola will believe his current squad now has the defensive solidity alongside their astonishing attacking force, to win the Champions League in May.

This fixture provides a return to Dortmund for Ilkay Gundogan, who has been greatly influential in Manchester City’s charge to the Premier League title. The German International is currently enjoying his best goalscoring season in a City shirt and will be hoping to contribute against his former employees. Gundogan has 16 goals to his name in all competitions this year and is the Premier League’s top goalscorer since December 15. The four-time Premier League Champions have had to overcome multiple problems with their strikers this year, requiring someone else to step up to the plate in front of goal.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher believes the role of full-back Joao Cancelo has been crucial in allowing Gundogan to explode into a huge goal threat. This season, Pep Guardiola has seemed to instruct the Portuguese defender to act as an additional centre midfielder when in possession. It has given Gundogan the license to drive forward and get into frequent goalscoring positions. Originally, we have associated Gundogan as a holding midfielder alongside Rodri or Fernandinho, to allow the likes of De Bruyne or Bernardo Silva to express their qualities in the attacking third. In their bid to overcome Dortmund in the Champions League next month, packing the midfield when in possession may prove beneficial to Pep’s side in order to suffocate and outnumber a compact and very stubborn midfield of Jude Bellingham, Mo Dahoud and Emre Can. The Dortmund midfield will want to try and contain Manchester City attacks and release their pacey attackers such as Sancho, Haaland and Reyna at any moment down the flanks. With City full-backs tucking into the midfield, a quick turnover and transition may help the German side exploit these spaces behind Manchester City.

As we enter the business end of the Champions League, Pep Guardiola, better than anyone, will know that you have to overcome some huge obstacles to win the tournament. And who bigger right now than Erling Haaland? City’s formidable defence will meet one of the most dangerous strikers on the planet. Haaland has scored 33 goals in 31 games and is currently the top scorer in the Champions League with 10 goals. Pep Guardiola has hailed the Norwegian star saying that ‘the numbers speak for itself’ when speaking on the quality of Haaland.

“The numbers speak for themselves… he (Haaland) is one of best strikers in the world at his age,” Guardiola claimed.

“I saw a few games, highlights and the numbers in the Champions League are impressive. I know the quality of this player, everyone knows.

“They have many young players with quality.”

In recent years, Dortmund has invested greatly in youth and one of their biggest success stories is Jadon Sancho who was an academy graduate at Manchester City. Sancho departed Manchester in the summer of 2017 with the belief a move abroad will better his career. In the past two seasons, the twenty-year-old has gone on to get 68 goals and assists in 75 games and put his name amongst the biggest talents in world football. Sancho has also gone on to earn 18 caps for England and captain Borussia Dortmund. Pep Guardiola claimed he had ‘no regrets’ over the sale of Sancho but the young winger will be eager to show his former team what they are missing out on. Dortmund’s number 7 has missed out on a call up to England for their friendlies against San Marino, Albania and Poland with a calf injury, but is expected to be fit for the quarter-final matches.

Manchester City will enter the first leg with form on their side. The Premier League leaders have won their last four matches keeping three clean sheets too. As for their opponents, Dortmund has only won once in their last four and conceding eight in that time too. It adds an emphasis to Dortmund’s tendencies to concede goals, with the German side having conceded 37 goals in 26 league games this season. Manchester City is averaging 2.2 goals a game and has scored 103 goals in 46 games in all competitions this season. With the likes of Foden, Sterling, Mahrez, Gundogan and Silva, the English outfit have shown that they are just as dangerous without any recognised striker and will look to exploit a Dortmund defence who have kept 4 clean sheets in their last 16 games.

Pep’s thoughts:

Pep Guardiola says it is a privilege to be in the last 8 of the Champions League and to face Borussia Dortmund. The Man City boss is anticipating the toughest of challenges when they lock horns with Dortmund in the quarter-final next month.

“It’s a privilege to be in the last eight teams. I didn't see much (of Dortmund) but in this international break, we will have a chance. They are a really good team,” Guardiola said.

“They were able to go through against Sevilla - who in knockout competitions are one of the strongest teams. They were able to beat them. Dortmund is tough but so would all of them (be).

“We try to play a good first game and then good in the second one. If we do good games, we will go through, if they do good games, they will. There are no secrets other than that.”


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