Pep Guardiola’s pursuit of Champions League glory as Manchester City manager continues when his side take on Borussia Dortmund in their quarter-final second leg.
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 vs Man City live stream options:
US, Canada & Spain: FuboTV
UK: BT Sport app
*Geo restrictions apply. Fubo is currently available in the United States, Canada and Spain. Packages and pricing differ per country.
Dortmund vs Man City: Betting offer
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 and a date with Paris Saint-Germain is on the line.
1. Predicted Borussia Dortmund XI
When this tie was first drawn, there was a lot of excitement surrounding the potential meeting of Jadon Sancho and former club Manchester City. A return to the Etihad was not meant to be, with the English winger missing the first leg with a muscle injury, but there was some hope of his involvement in the return fixture. Sancho has returned to training, but unfortunately the second leg comes too soon for Sancho to make his comeback.
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. However, Terzic may decide to bring Thomas Meunier in at right-back after Mateo Morey Bauza’s struggles at the weekend.
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 especially with Sergio Aguero injured. The Portuguese midfielder will be 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) 5/4
- 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.