Borussia Dortmund are back in the Champions League quarterfinals for first time since 2017, as Manchester City are set to host Die Schwarzgelben on Tuesday, under the bright lights of Europe’s premier club competition. Matches over two legs are not quite as unpredictable as the ‘win or go home’ matches we saw after last seasons restart, but upsets are still always on the cards in knockout competitions. Both teams go into the first leg of the tie on two very different narratives as Manchester City are cruising to another Premier League title, while Dortmund look set for their worst finish in the Bundesliga since 2015.
Following the 1-2 home loss against Eintracht Frankfurt, several BVB players such as Erling Haaland and Marco Reus were visibly frustrated, which could be a sign of growing discontent in the locker room. It will be interesting to see what mindset the Dortmund players have heading into this tie. One could argue that a fresh competition is just what the squad needs to get their minds off their inconsistent league form. It will be up to Edin Terzic to get his players believing in themselves before facing the juggernaut that is Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. While motivation will be key, Terzic also has a few decisions to make in regard to selection for the mid-week fixture. Here is how I see Terzic lining up against City:
Dortmund pulled a surprise this weekend starting Raphael Guerreiro in the hole behind the striker, and Nico Schulz getting the nod at left back. While Guerreiro was excellent at creating chances, Schulz had a poor game, so I expect him to drop to the bench. Emre Can started at right back, presumably to give Mateu Morey more time and rest before this crunch fixture, so I expect Can will replace Delaney at the base of the midfield just in front of Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji. Jude Bellingham and Mahmoud Dahoud should complete the midfield, which would be the same trio that Terzic fieleded in the first leg against Sevilla. Reus, Haaland, and Thorgan Hazard will most likely make up the front three as BVB really don’t have any other attacking options right now. Jadon Sancho is the big injury miss, but reports are optimistic he will be back for the return leg.
Pep Guardiola on the other hand has a bountiful harvest of options all over the pitch, and has Manchester City once again looking like favorites to win the competition. Of course, Manchester City’s recent years in the Champions League have not gone smoothly either, as they’ve failed to advance past the quarterfinals in four years. Nevertheless, it looks to be just a matter of time before the “noisy neighbors” get their hands on Europe’s top prize. Here is how I think City will lineup:
Guardiola was able to rest several key starters for their weekend match such as Joáo Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan, and Raheem Sterling. Sergio Agüero and Kevin De Bruyne both started this past weekend, but I expect both of them to start tomorrow. Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte and Rúben Dias will continue on the back line with Ederson taking his place between the sticks. Pep has been known to throw curveballs in the Champions League by changing formations, playing false nine’s, and sticking strikers out wide, so Borussia Dortmund should be prepared for anything when it comes to selection and tactics.
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Manchester City
Even though Manchester City are one of the strongest sides in Europe, there are several factors that I believe give reasons for optimism. While no one recycles possession and attacks with dangerous combinations of passing and movement quite like Manchester City, Dortmund are much better equipped to hold off the ground attacks that City use, rather than the aerial bombardments that they faced against Bayern and Frankfurt. When BVB have Reus, Haaland, Guerreiro, and Hazard on the pitch, they can beat anyone on their day. If Dortmund are able to score a couple quick away goals early like they did against Bayern Munich early last month, then they will give themselves a chance. Will Dortmund be strong enough to hold on? Yes, strangely enough I think BVB can get a result in Manchester, scoring 2 away goals to take home for the return leg.
Tell us what you think below.