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Pep Guardiola’s side have a fantastic home record in the group stage of the Champions League, and Dortmund will struggle to keep their opponents quiet.
Back over 3.5 goals when Manchester City take on Borussia Dortmund this week. (-105)
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Manchester City were getting ready to face Tottenham Hotspur in a crunch Premier League clash on Saturday, but the entire round of fixtures in England’s top flight was postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. That means Pep Guardiola’s side have had more than eight days off between last week’s 4-0 thumping of Sevilla and Wednesday’s meeting with Borussia Dortmund. That makes their opponents’ task even more daunting than it would have been otherwise.
Manchester City are the early favorites to win the Champions League this season. That is a familiar position for the club to find itself in. City have been heavily fancied to triumph in Europe in recent years, but they have continually fallen short. Elimination last term came in particularly heartbreaking circumstances, as two late goals from Real Madrid in the semi-final second leg forced extra time, during which los Blancos scored the tie-winning goal through Karim Benzema.
City are bound to get over the line in Europe one day, but for now the wait goes on. They have won four of the last five Premier League titles, and would perhaps have won the Champions League in that period if it were held on a round-robin basis. But knockout soccer offers little margin for error, and City have fallen short in a variety of ways throughout Guardiola’s tenure. Until he brings the Champions League trophy to the Etihad Stadium, the City boss will feel his work in Manchester is incomplete.
City do have a formidable record in the group stage at least. They have finished first in each of the last five seasons, and have won 10 of their last 11 group games in front of their own fans at the Etihad. Dortmund are in for a tough test this week.
Those Borussia Dortmund fans with a fatalistic streak could only envisage one possible outcome when their side faced RB Leipzig on Saturday. Their opponents had recently fired Domenico Tedesco and replaced him with Marco Rose, who was sacked by Dortmund at the end of last season. BVB supporters have had plenty of chances to develop a self-deprecating sense of humor in recent times, and as far as they saw it defeat by Leipzig was inevitable.
Their pessimism was vindicated. Dortmund were well beaten at the Red Bull Arena, going down 3-0 to their former manager. The result did not deal a fatal blow to their Bundesliga title hopes – we are still early in the campaign, while Bayern Munich drew 2-2 with Stuttgart on the same day. But the outcome was certainly a blow to the players’ confidence ahead of this trip to Manchester.
Leipzig took the lead in the sixth minute and never looked back from there. They emphatically won the midfield battle, raising further question marks over whether Dortmund are strong enough in that crucial part of the pitch. And they struggled to create chances, drawing a blank for the first time this term.
Dortmund’s hopes of pulling off an upset against City are harmed by the absence through injury or illness of several key players, including Mahmoud Dahoud, Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi and Sebastien Haller. This could be a long night for BVB, who will struggle to build on last week’s 3-0 victory over Copenhagen.
Erling Haaland could come back to haunt his former club in this one. The Norway international, who joined City from Dortmund over the summer, has made a blistering start to life in England, scoring 12 goals in his first eight games for his new employers. We are only in September but injury is probably the only way Haaland can be stopped in the race to finish as the Premier League top scorer.
Dortmund know better than anyone what the striker is capable of, but City are far from a one-man team. Indeed, perhaps the biggest area of concern for Edin Terzic heading into this match is the aforementioned midfield.
There has been a visible disconnect between attack and defense in Dortmund’s matches so far this season, with too much asked of the 19-year-old Jude Bellingham. City are one of the strongest sides on the continent in the center of the park, and Dortmund may struggle to get a foothold here.
A high-scoring match is a distinct possibility. City hit four goals past Sevilla last time out and averaged three goals per game in the group stage of last season’s Champions League. Back over 3.5 goals at the Etihad on Wednesday.
|Teams||Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund|
|Location||Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England|
|Time||Wednesday, 14 September 2022, 15.00 PM EST|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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