After pausing to mourn Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Manchester City are back in action on Wednesday. This time, they are hosting a UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund. Pep Guardiola’s men last played the Yellow and Black in the quarter-finals of the UCL in 2020/21. It’s been a while, but I was able to get Anders Meincke of Fear the Wall to help reacquaint us with Dortmund in advance of the meeting at the Etihad.
CITYZENDuck: City and Dortmund last faced each other in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. City bested Dortmund 4-2 on aggregate to end their UCL run. What does UCL success look like for Dortmund this year?
Anders Meincke: The short answer is not too good, but not too bad either. Dortmund being in pot 3 this year meant that it was likely that we would draw two elite teams. Manchester City is obviously a better team than us, and Sevilla is struggling very much as we’ve seen in both domestic play and in the Champions League.
There’s a bunch of teams Dortmund can beat if we get out of the group, but Edin Terzic is still figuring out a formula in terms of our playstyle. Currently, Dortmund are plagued with injuries with Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi, Mahmoud Dahoud and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens being out. Malen and Adeyemi are both question marks in terms of the Manchester City clash.
I would be happy if we went as far as the round of 16, but it really depends on whether or not we draw an elite team for the round of 32.
CD: Pep Guardiola and the City board triggered the buyout clause for Erling Haaland early in the most recent transfer window. How have Dortmund tried to replace the scoring that Haaland provided, and who might be the next big star for the Yellow & Black?
AM: Sebastien Haller was supposed to be the direct answer to that question, but as we all know, he’s currently undergoing chemotherapy. We bought Anthony Modeste from Köln as his replacement, but he hasn’t found his footing just yet.
The first ten competitive goals this season came from ten different players, but Dortmund haven’t found themselves a reliable goal scorer just yet. Haaland was such a good player, that our playstyle formed itself around him. Now that he’s not there anymore, Terzic will need to come up with some other solutions (which he is still working on).
If Malen and Adeyemi are to return to the squad too, I’ll expect them to get double digits (in either goals or assists) together with captain Marco Reus.
CD: Dortmund are nearly always in contention in the Bundesliga and are regular participants in the UCL. The club currently sit 5th in the domestic table. How do you feel about Dortmund’s domestic prospects, and will they qualify for Champions League once again?
AM: I firmly believe we’ll qualify for the Champions League again, and we honestly should do it with a second-place finish as well. I don’t believe we’ll overthrow Bayern, even though they’ve had their struggles early on. Dortmund are having struggles as well (we were battered 3-0 by Leipzig last weekend), but with the player that Dortmund have brought in this transfer window, they need to at least give Bayern a run for their money.
I’m still not too confident in Edin Terzic. He’s a very good motivator, but I fear that he’s lacking the tactical depth that we need to compete at the highest level.
CD: And finally, what are your predictions for this match and Group G as a whole?
AM: I think we can expect Manchester City to absolutely dominate Dortmund. If Adeyemi and Malen can get back for the clash, our prospects are looking a bit better, as they’re both very fast and able to string together a counterattack.
You can always expect Dortmund to try and play for the win. Terzic likely won’t sit deep, and that can create a very open match. I predict a 3-1 victory for Manchester City, with Jude Bellingham getting a goal as revenge for the last time Dortmund faced Manchester City.
As for the group, I predict Manchester City to finish first, Dortmund to finish second, Sevilla to finish third and Copenhagen to finish fourth. Sevilla is a very good team, but they really have been looking awful this year – even more awful than Dortmund.
Make no mistake – Sevilla can beat Dortmund, but Lopetegui’s side just looks very weak in its current state.
There you have it Cityzens. Thanks again to Anders and everyone at Fear the Wall. You can keep up with Anders’ writing and all things Borussia Dortmund by following @FearTheWall on Twitter.