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Analysing Manchester City’s Champions League Opponents

A Look at the Blues group stage challengers in review

UEFA Champions League 2022/23 Group Stage Draw Photo by Lukas Schulze - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Thursday evening saw the draw for the group stage of the Champions League and City, who were in pot 1, were drawn against Sevilla, FC Copenhagen and, huge surprise, Borussia Dortmund. The blues have played these three teams in European competition previously and have a decent record. Here, we look at the three teams, past history and how they are currently performing.


The Spanish side were in pot 2 and made it to the Champions League by five points from Real Betis. Last season, they finished fourth, 16 points behind champions Real Madrid. So far this season, they have played two matches and are yet to record win, losing one and drawing one.

City and Sevilla have met previously at this stage in the competition, with the blues winning both. In October 2015, City went a goal down in the 30th minute, but came back to win 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium. An own goal by Adil Rami squared the match before half-time, and a last minute winner by Kevin de Bruyne gave Manuel Pellegrini’s side a vital win.

The return leg was more comfortable, with Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho putting City 2-0 ahead within 11 minutes. Although the home side pulled a goal back in the 25th minute, Wilfried Bony scored City’s third and the blues took the points home.

This will be Sevilla’s 9th appearance in the Champions League. They first entered the competition in the 2007/08 season, then made their second appearance two years later. An absence of five years was followed by three successive campaigns, the last of which took them to the quarter-final.

They have reached the last 16 four times and have failed to get out of the group stage twice. The last time that happened was last season when they finished third. Sevilla won just one match, 2-0 at home to Wolfsburg, drew three and lost two.

Borussia Dortmund

Well, it had to happen. Erling Haaland joined City from Dortmund in the summer and both his former clubs were in Pot 3. For whatever reason, when Dortmund were drawn, they could only go into City’s group and the big Norwegian striker will be making a swift return to the Bundesliga side wearing City blue.

Dortmund qualified for the Champions League by finishing runners-up to Bayern by eight points. This season, they have played three matches, won two, lost one and sit seventh on the league.

City met Dortmund in their ill-fated campaign of 2012/13, where City failed to win a group match and bowed out miserably at the group stage. The first encounter saw Marco Reus score in the 62nd minute to put Jurgen Klopp’s team on the brink of victory. However, a last-minute penalty by Mario Balotelli rescued a point for the blues. It was no fun on the return visit though. Needing a win, City lost 1-0 to a second half goal, meaning the blues didn’t even get the consolation prize of a Europa League place as the finished bottom of the group.

In April 2021, Phil Foden’s first-half goal was cancelled out, before de Bruyne scored a last-minute winner to take a 2-1 lead to Germany. Despite going a goal down in the first half, a Riyad Mahrez penalty and a stunning goal from Foden put the blues into the quarter-final

This will be Dortmund’s 17th appearance in the competition. Their first appearance was in the 95/96 season where they reached the quarter-final. The following season, Dortmund were crowned European champions and reached the semi-final a year later. Two years later they reached the group stage, which they achieved again two years after that and the following season.

After an absence of eight years, Dortmund came back in the 2011/12 season but again failed to get out of the group stage. The following season, they went all the way to the final, losing to Bayern Munich, reached the quarter-final a year later, then made it to the last 16 a year after that. Two years later, they reached the quarter-final again, followed by a group stage exit and two last 16’s. In 20/21, they lost 4-2 on aggregate to City.

Last season, Dortmund failed to get out of the group stage. They finished level on points with Sporting, but had an inferior goal difference, courtesy of a 3-1 win for Sporting over Dortmund in their penultimate match. Dortmund lost two other matches, both to runaway group winners Ajax, who won all six of their group stage matches.

FC Copenhagen

Despite being the Danish champions, Copenhagen still had to come through the play-off stage, rather than automatically qualifying for the group stages. They overcame Turkish side Trabzonspor 2-1 on aggregate and were drawn in the blues group from pot 4.

Currently, Copenhagen are fifth in the Danish league, four points behind leaders Silkeborg after six matches. They hold the honour of having the best scoring record (13 for) and worst defence (10 conceded) than any other team in the top six in the division.

City and Copenhagen have previously met in the Europa League. Mark Hughes’ side had started their campaign at the qualifying stage in July, and had made it through a difficult, yet somewhat confusing group stage, where they played two home (Twente and PSG) and two away (Schalke and Racing Santander).

City went to Copenhagen and goals by Nedum Onuoha and Stephen Ireland put the blues in control. A 56th minute goal was added to in injury time to secure a 2-2 draw. The return leg saw Craig Bellamy score a brace in seven second-half minutes and, while Copenhagen pulled a goal back in injury time, the blues held on.

With five appearances in the Champions League (including this season), Copenhagen have made the most appearances in the group stages for a team from Denmark. From their previous four appearances, they have made it out of the group stage once. That was in the 2010/11 season when they went out at the last 16 stage.

This will be their first appearance in the competition since the 2016/17 season and the first Danish team to make the group stage since FC Midtjylland in 2020/21. Last time Copenhagen were in the group stage, they finished third, with two wins, three draws and one defeat. After drawing 1-1 at Porto, Copenhagen then beat Club Brugge 4-0 at home. A narrow, 1-0 defeat at Leicester was followed by a goalless return leg with the surprise English champions. A goalless draw at Porto left their qualification hopes in doubt and, despite winning 2-0 at Club Brugge, Porto’s 5-0 win over Leicester condemned Copenhagen to the Europa League.