Competition/Round: 2018 International Champions Cup – Matchday 1
Date/Time: Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund – Friday, 20 July 2018, 02:05 BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria); 21:05 EST, 18:05 PST (USA); 06:05 IST (India)
Venue: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, USA
TV Info: SKY (UK); ESPN Deportes, ESPN 2 (USA)
Live Stream: Premier Sports (UK); WatchESPN (USA)
Manchester City had a remarkable performance during the 2017/18 season. The Blue finished the league on 100 points, and 19 points above second-placed Manchester United. After setting numerous records, City will seek to replicate this form in the upcoming 2018/19 English Premier League season. The EPL has not seen a successful title defence since the 2008/09 season, where United retained the title following the 2007/08 season, and City will hope to reestablish this trend.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund underperformed during the 2017/18 season. FC Bayern München had dominated the German Budesliga in the previous five seasons, but with a set of new signings and a new manager, it seemed Dortmund would push for the first title race in the German league since the 2011/12 season. Unfortunately for the Yellow and Blacks, they did not live up to their expectations. After a series of poor performances, three managerial changes and a several player injuries, the BVB barely finished fourth in the Bundesliga. With a season to forget, the Germans will use this summer as an opportunity to rebuild their squad.
The team news for both sides is relatively similar, as many of their players were away on international duty at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It is projected both clubs will field weaker sides as most of the senior team is still away on holiday.
Nonetheless, the match will provide an opportunity for younger players to impress their respective managers. Should they perform well during this preseason tour, this may provide them with an opportunity to break into the senior squad in the upcoming 2018/19 season.
Hart; Garcia, Laporte, Denayer, Zinchenko; Diaz, Douglas Luiz, Foden; Roberts, Nmecha, Mahrez
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Hitz; Toljan, Piper, Toprak, Schmelzer; Toljan, Pulisic, Götze, Sahin, Schürrle – Philipp, Isak
Manager: Lucien Favre
This is Manchester City’s first preseason match in 2018, and as the previous preseason performances have shown, the Blues will likely be rusty on their opening day. Moreover, with the deadline of the 2018 Summer Transfer Window slowly approaching, it is predicted Guardiola will start some of the players that he wishes to sell before the window closes. Therefore, it is likely a mixed squad of rejects and youth will start for the Blues in this match. Unfortunately, this may also lead to a poor team chemistry, though it will allow City manager Pep Guardiola to experiment with his formations and tactics. More importantly, the performance of certain players will also confirm who he will need in the senior squad in order to defend the title in the upcoming season.
Borussia Dortmund, however, seem to be in better contention. The Yellow and Blacks started their preseason tour in the United States a week earlier than the Blues, and thus should be more refreshed. Dortmund comfortably overcame Austria Vienna in a preseason friendly last week, and this extra preparation will give Dortmund manager Lucien Favre more time to tinker with his squad.
Moreover, the American audience will be excited to see their own Christian Pulisic in contention on home soil. The additional American connection to BVB’s squad, and thus support for the club, could provide a more “home-like” feeling for Dortmund. With a rather inexperienced City side predicted to start, it is likely Dortmund will leave Guardiola tinkering with his system at the end of this match. Borussia Dortmund are undefeated against Manchester City in all competitions, and it is believed this statistic will remain the same following the conclusion of this preseason fixture.
Manchester City 1-3 Borussia Dortmund