Although PL won’t be returning to the screens for at least a week, UEFA has assured football fans around the globe to supply them with a dose of English teams lining up, as UCL nights return and this week we have Premier League Champions Manchester City hosting Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund. When these clubs shouldered the last time, the Blues got an upper hand and knocked the yellow-blacks out of the UCL.
These clubs are no strangers to each other and have more than decent relations with each other as both clubs have been part of the business that included the transfers of İlkay Gündoğan, Jadon Sancho, and most recently Erling Haaland and Manuel Akanji.
This fixture has the potential to be a thrilling as well as exciting encounter due to the presence of brilliant names in both the lineups. Although this will be an evenly contested game, experts favor Manchester City to come out on top.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Date: Wednesday, 14th Sep 2022
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Time: 20:00 GMT
Pep Guardiola’s list of concerns keeps on growing with star defender Kyle Walker joins dependable centre-back duo of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte on sidelines.
Though on a positive note, Kalvin Phillips is back training and Jack Grealish has also trained with the squad. .
Eyes will be on the inclusion of Nathan Ake and Riyad Mahrez, as the former started the season so well but impressive and flawless performance of Akanji against Sevilla might force Pep to stick with him. While the latter was the top scorer for the club last season, hasn’t enjoyed the minutes a player of his caliber should have since the start of this season.
Dortmund are no stranger to having injury concerns with several first-team players either injured or doubtful as Mahmoud Dahoud and Mateu Morey remain long-term absentees as the young trio of Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi and Bynoe-Gittens remain doubtful for scoring a start.
Pep Guardiola has got all the things right this season and their unbeaten run is evidence of the work he has done with a rather small roster. Guardiola has tweaked some tactics depending on the opposition they face and it has resulted in great victories as well as comebacks.
Manchester City’s attack has been brilliant and the ability of star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne to find vertical balls behind the lanes to former ace Erling Haaland has proven instrumental in finding goals this season. To attain this objective, the rest of the team’s quest will be to push Dortmund in their half till they reach a burial point. Players like Phil Foden, Ilkay Gundogan, and Bernardo Silva will do just that by pressing aggressively and capitalizing on loose balls played by Dortmund. However, Dortmund has an answer to this situation in Jude Bellingham and it will be up to Rodri to protect his defenders from facing anyone in the situation.
They will keep their on-paper shape in 4-3-3 but we can expect this group to change their formations depending on the session they are into. While pressing it will be the 2-3-1-2-2 shape observed in several games with Bernardo leading the press with Foden blocking out the opposition’s options and Gundogan collecting the ball with Haaland preparing for a run.
It will be beautifully structured gameplay if Manchester City players manage to tick their assignments.
Currently struggling to obtain dividends from its attacking unit, Dortmund have called for their defenders and midfielders to get on chat. Though they are used to playing against a high line of defensive setups in Bundesliga bu0, Manchester City are a different beast. City will try to pin the visitors down and try passing the ball into the net – while they do so they will deprive Dortmund of the ball and transitions is where Terzic will be aiming to get scoring outputs.
Club captain Marco Reus will be tasked to play a mix of creator-finisher due to other attackers lacking firepower. Hopes will be high on Julian Brandt due to his newfound consistency in performing well. Dortmund will likely stick to 4-2-3-1 against City keeping the same defensive midfield duo of Bellingham and Ozcan in the line-up. The latter might have to drop deeper to bring the ball forward or play it long due to a guarantee that Schlotterbeck and Sule getting pressed by City forward. Bellingham’s positional sense will come into the picture as Dortmund will have to figure out ways and improvise on their tactics.
The inclusion of Gio Reyna might work for Dortmund due to his sense to be in the perfect place for counters which, Thorgan Hazard has failed to display. Hence, an attacking set up of Brandt, Reus, Reyna, and Moukoko can prove to be more productive for Bundesliga giants.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Although this was a great chance to write Haaland’s name as he faces his former club which adds more excitement to this game – we cannot deny how integral De Bruyne has been to City and he is proving that time and time again. Winning most UCL MOTMS in the last 2 seasons, KDB will surely have his sights set on the silverware as all of this City squad.
De Bruyne’s presence on the field opens up multiple options for manager Pep Guardiola to shake a few things due to Belgian’s versatility.
His link-up with Erling Haaland has been nothing short of impressive as the duo keeps on adding goals on the scoreboard. It will be his responsibility to get the ball forward from the attacking half and make smart moves to create goal-scoring opportunities.
An English sensation who has been on the shopping cart of far too many top clubs, Jude Bellingham was the only player who caused real trouble for Manchester City when they faced one another last time. Bellingham possesses the unique talent of understanding the exact nature of the session and acting upon it. He can pick a pass from defence, can progress the ball by dropping deep, can break the opposition attacks by smart interception, and get into goal-scoring positions if more numbers are needed forward.
The last UCL game was no stranger to Bellingham’s abilities to do all as the young midfielder got himself on scoresheet and helped his team keep a clean sheet.
He will come up against the mighty midfield of Manchester City and will have to carry the burden of his entire team to play through the press. He is an expert in doing that and hence he is the man that Sky Blues must be aware of the most. His progression will be a key factor for Reus and Co. in getting goals.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Ederson, J. Cancelo, M. Akanji, R. Dias, S. Gomez; K. De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; B. Silva, E. Haaland, P. Foden.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND (4-2-3-1): G. Kobel, S. Aurrier, N. Sule, N. Schlotterbeck, R. Guirreiro; J. Bellingham, S. Ozcan; J. Brandt, M. Reus, G. Reyna; Y. Moukoko.
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