Manchester City are back in action in the UEFA Champions League after an 8-day layoff. The Sky Blues host Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund tonight at the Etihad Stadium. Sky Blue News is here to catch you up on the morning headlines as we build toward kick-off.
Man City have unusual Champions League advantage vs Borussia Dortmund - Simon Bajkowski - Manchester Evening News
City come in well rested after pausing to honour the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.
The decision by the Premier League to postpone the weekend’s fixtures out of respect for the Queen — at a time when basically every other sport went ahead — could yet come back to hurt City and others in Europe. The knockout phases of the Champions League are almost back by the time the match could potentially be rearranged, and the fixture clogs will get even worse if the games coming get the same treatment; City would rather a short turnaround for Wolves after Dortmund than face having to squeeze another game into the final third of the season.
However, in the short term at least, City will in fact be fresher than their Champions League opponents. Guardiola’s side will have had eight days since their last match — the 4-0 tanking of Sevilla — whereas Dortmund fell to a 3-0 defeat at RB Leipzig on Saturday.
Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund Preview - Dillon Meehan - City Report
Meehan gives us all the info. Including a rundown of BVB’s form coming in.
It hasn’t been the best of starts for Borussia Dortmund so far this season. After departing with manager Marco Rose in the summer, the German club reassigned Edin Terzic, their caretaker manager two seasons ago, to managerial duties. Terzic served as their technical director this past season after being an assistant under Lucien Favre.
But a revolving door of managers hasn’t been their only issue.
Years of selling promising up-and-comers to the highest bidder have taken their toll on the squad, which appears to lack a core. The club has yet to find a true replacement for either Ousmane Dembele or Jadon Sancho and sold both Akanji and a certain Norwegian striker to the Premier League champions this past summer. Akanji was replaced by Nico Schlotterbeck from SC Freiburg and Niklas Sule arrived from Bayern Munich on a free. However, Matts Hummels remains the only other senior centre-back in the squad.
Gundo praises his predecessor and explains his leadership style.
By way of preparing for the role, Gundogan disclosed how he had contacted his predecessor to pick up some tips and pointers ahead of taking up the reigns.
And he revealed how he sought to lead by example rather than by any words.
“I was lucky to have Fernandinho and even this season I contacted him and asked for advice on a few things,” the midfielder revealed at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference ahead of our Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund.
“So, he helped me out already, even though he isn’t here.
“Personally, I don’t try to change too many things. I try to lead by example.
“I may not be the loudest in the dressing room, but I try to lead by my actions.
Ilkay Gundogan offers hint on Manchester City future with 12 months left on his contract - Vayam Lahoti - City Xtra
The captain is focused on the football and not the financials.
Winning four Premier League titles amongst a host of domestic silverware at City, the 31-year-old has enjoyed his fair share of collective accolades in England.
However, there remains uncertainty over what the long-term future holds for Ilkay Gundogan at the Etihad Stadium as the former Borussia Dortmund star remains in his final year of contract at City.
Speaking ahead of City’s Champions League group-stage clash with his former side on Wednesday evening, the midfielder was quizzed about his plans when his current contract expires in 2023.
Gundogan said: “I am very happy at Manchester City. I was all the time I’m at the club. It’s football, it’s business, we will see what happens at the end of the season.”
‘Okay, fine!’ - Guardiola reveals his reaction to Man City signing Haaland - Jonathan Smith - Goal.com
Seems like that might be an understatement. I know I was excited.
WHAT THEY SAID: Guardiola has said of his reaction to being told about the deal by City’s director of football: ”Txiki [Begiristain] talked to me and it was a two-second conversation: ‘Okay, fine’, what would you say? We had an incredible striker in Gabriel Jesus. But we had the chance to bring [Erling] here so why not?”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: City are still aiming for their first Champions League success but Guardiola played down whether the goals of Haaland could make the difference. “I’m not able to know it,” he added.
Pep Talk: “We have to take decisions and the players have freedom and intentions...” - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue
Saul gives us the highlights from the boss’s pre-match presser.
Pep Guardiola is back again with another presser prior to the UCL match vs Borussia Dortmund. He talks injury updates, Dortmund, postponements and much more, let’s dive right in:
Pep confirmed Stones and Laporte near being ready
“Training session yesterday was partial, today complete. I spoke with the doctor, he needs a little more volume on his leg but in general he’s going well...”
“They [Borussia Dortmund] know these players [Erling Haaland, Manuel Akanji] - also Sergio Gomez - better than I know Dortmund players...”
“We want a team to win tomorrow [vs Dortmund]. It is the World Cup and we have to be there in the #PL. But in the #UCL we have to qualify. We won the first game and in the CL at home you have to be strong. We are lucky that we don’t travel...”
Pep Talk: “We have to take decisions and the players have freedom and intentions...” https://t.co/SGy8m51fSp— Bitter and Blue (@BitterandBlue1) September 13, 2022
Man City vs Dortmund: Latest on Kyle Walker as fellow defender returns to training - Aiden Beswick - Manchester World
Kyle still isn’t training, but everyone else was back in some form with the first team.
Walker, who is a regular for the Sky Blues at right-back, was substituted late-on in City’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on September 3 after suffering a knock.
He also missed the Sky Blues’ 4-0 win over Sevilla last week in their Champions League opener.
However, one a positive note, Aymeric Laporte was spotted in full training and took part in the session.
The centre-back hasn’t featured for City so far this season after suffering a knee injury at the latter stages of last campaign, which required surgery in the summer.
Pep Guardiola delivers fitness update on three Manchester City defenders - Oliver Thomas - Sports Mole
Sounds like Stones is available and LaPorte is close.
Pep Guardiola has confirmed that defender John Stones is available to face Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League Group G contest on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old missed the 4-0 win away against Sevilla last week due to a minor muscle problem, but he has since returned to first-team training and will be in contention to face BVB at the Etihad Stadium.
Aymeric Laporte was also spotted in training and completed his first session with his teammates after undergoing knee surgery over the summer.
The Frenchman is unlikely to feature in Wednesday’s matchday squad, however, while Kyle Walker is ruled out as he continues to recover from a muscle injury.
The England right-back came off in the final 10 minutes of City’s Premier League draw at Aston Villa and subsequently missed the victory over Sevilla.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Guardiola provided an update on all three defenders, telling reporters: “John [Stones] is training, Kyle [Walker] doesn’t. John is fit and good.”
“It is the first training session [for Laporte] and I don’t know, but this is good. It is going really well and we are very happy for that. After the international break he will be ready for us to think about using him.”
Pep Guardiola delivers fitness update on three Manchester City defenders https://t.co/6GQyPD2jw2— Sports Mole (@SportsMole) September 13, 2022
“I loved David Silva but...” - Phil Foden names Manchester City star as the best player he has ever seen - Srinivas Sadhanand - City Xtra
And finally.., Foden reveals his love for El Mago and admiration of KDB.
During the 2020/21 season in particular, the two-time PFA Young Player of the Year winner showcased a largely unseen side to his game by shining as a left winger.
Perhaps what was more surprising, and a reason why the comparisons to David Silva came to a top, was the Englishman’s penchant for putting up goals and assists on the board.
While the former Valencia hero was a master of his craft, being an output machine was far from his strongest suit.
Keeping that in mind, many have claimed that in truth, Phil Foden is more fit to be the heir to Kevin De Bruyne, who has been one of the most productive midfielders in Europe since his move to Manchester City.
It seems like the 22-year-old has kept a close eye on what makes De Bruyne special, hinting at considering him as a bigger inspiration than lifelong idol, David Silva.
“When I was watching football and growing up, I loved David Silva but seeing Kevin De Bruyne every day in training, the things he does!
“Unbelievable player; probably the best player I’ve ever, ever played with,” he admitted, when speaking as a global ambassador for TCL, as relayed by Caught Offside.
There it is. City and Dortmund kick it off tonight at the Etihad. Follow @BitterandBlue1 all day for all the latest. Come on City!!