Pep Guardiola has name-checked Raphael Guerreiro as one of Borussia Dortmund’s main attacking threats ahead of Man City’s Champions League showdown with the Ruhr valley club on Tuesday.
The Citizens have exited the last eight in each of the previous three campaigns and will now be looking to reach the penultimate stage for the first time since 2015/16, when Manuel Pellegrini’s side were put to the sword by eventual winners Real Madrid.
Guardiola has been all-conquering in England and is currently on course for another domestic treble, with the Premier League title all but wrapped up barring an almost unthinkable late collapse, but the Catalan coach remains in search of the ever-elusive European crown.
That pursuit will see his side collide with managerless BVB in the quarter-finals, starting with a first leg clash at the Etihad on Tuesday, with former West Ham first-team coach Edin Terzic now manning the dugout at the Westfalenstadion, and despite a few hiccups in the Bundesliga, they remain a menacing proposition.
The likes of Erling Haaland, Marco Reus, Emre Can and Mats Hummels are some of the household, stellar names set to take to the Etihad turf and give City a difficult night, but there is one player who perhaps flies slightly under the radar when it comes to recognising their attacking talent.
Raphael Guerreiro has been one of Dortmund’s most creative forces this season, rivalling Jadon Sancho for playmaker bragging rights in the Bundesliga, while also sitting atop the podium when it comes to creativity metrics across the continent for full-backs.
The Parisian-born Portugal international has registered a quite staggering eight assists in the Bundesliga this term, the most of any full-back across Europe’s top five leagues, while he has also created the most big chances (12), outgunning the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordi Alba, Juan Cuadrado and Alphonso Davies.
Such attacking enterprise has naturally caught the attention of Guardiola, who was quick to highlight Guerreiro’s “experience” ahead of the midweek clash.
On the German club’s key threats, Guardiola said: “Dortmund, [Raphael] Guerreiro, [Axel] Witsel with experience, the quality of Jadon Sancho, [Gio] Reyna.
“There are many good players, the quality, they decide to invest in good young players paying good wages and good salaries for agents. They have a lot of quality.
“They went through against Sevilla who are one of the strongest knockout teams ever, winning three Europa Leagues in a row and then another one. Always Sevilla are so strong and they beat them.”
Guardiola also spoke of his past experiences facing Dortmund, coming up against the club on several occasions during his days as Bayern Munich boss.
The 50-year-old took part in 11 Der Klassiker duels (losing four) so knows exactly what to expect from the club’s attacking verve.
“If one person in Manchester knows Borussia Dortmund, it is me,” he stated. “I will not find one single player at their club who is without quality. They have incredible quality. Incredible.
Relevant Sky Bet odds for Man City vs Borussia Dortmund:
- Raphael Guerreiro to assist 1+ goals 9/2
- Both teams to score 5/6
- Both teams to score both halves 9/1
- Goal in both halves 8/15
Dortmund to score in first 10 minutes 11/1
“Over one or two games, they are able to do anything. I have incredible respect for what Dortmund have done. I know their quality.
“It’s not just [Erling] Haaland of course, but Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, Mo Dahoud, and [Mats] Hummels… I’m really impressed with the quality he has.
“When they run, they kill you. The quality is there.”
Thomas Tuchel: He is far too good to play in just one position
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was the man to pluck Guerreiro from Lorient ahead of his second Dortmund campaign in 2016/17, and he immediately impressed the German tactician.
Tuchel drew admiring, and at times, quizzical glances during his spell in North Rhine-Westphalia, keeping everyone second guessing with his tactical tombola, and Guerreiro’s versatility was key that almost trailblazing approach.
“Guerreiro is far too good to play just one position,” Tuchel said shortly after the defender’s arrival.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) September 19, 2016
Indeed Guerreiro has been a bit of a Swiss Army knife for Dortmund, playing in a range of positions from left-back to left wing, and even central midfield, which serves to underpin his refined ability on the ball and attacking qualities; qualities Terzic will be hoping can exploit City’s high-flying defenders on Tuesday.