Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund
Manchester City’s quest for the quadruple continues as they take on Borussia Dortmund for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
Without a doubt, the main storylines in this tie surround Erling Braut Haaland. The Borussia Dortmund star will face his father’s former club, and he could soon be calling the Etihad Stadium home as rumours linking him with a move to City persist.
And as if that wasn’t enough for young Haaland to handle, he will also be tasked to carry a Dortmund team that will be without former City man Jadon Sancho.
Amid all the Dortmund drama, Pep Guardiola will be focused on the task at hand, which is to lead City back to the semi-finals of the tournament.
City continue to dominate
Manchester City’s amazing march toward the quadruple does not seem to be slowing down. They picked up another convincing 2-0 victory away to Leicester over the weekend, their fifth victory in a row in all competitions and their fourth consecutive clean sheet.
Apart from a derby defeat to Manchester United, City have been close to perfect since mid-December with 26 wins out of 27. No wonder the Champions League 2021 betting odds have City as clear favourites.
Such is City’s strength in depth that they were able to rest the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo, John Stones, and Phil Foden ahead of their midweek Champions League match. Sergio Aguero, who is on his way out of the club, made the start at Leicester but will most likely drop back to the bench.
Gabriel Jesus has been in fine form with five goals in his last seven games, but it remains to be seen whether Guardiola will turn to him up front or go with a more fluid front three that City have played with for much of the season.
The slight tweak in City’s system has been hugely beneficial for Gundogan, who picked up two more goals on international duty for Germany after scoring in his last three appearances for City before the break.
With Dortmund’s defence looking so weak, especially without key defensive midfielder Axel Witsel, Gundogan will fancy his chances of scoring against his former side.
Haaland in the spotlight with Sancho out
Borussia Dortmund’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s Champions League took a major hit after they lost 2-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt. Dortmund, who have won just once in their last five matches in all competitions, are now seven points adrift of Frankfurt for fourth place.
Failure to make it to the Champions League next season would be disastrous for Dortmund, and it could force them to part ways with one or both of their young superstars – Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho – this summer.
Indeed, the speculation surrounding Haaland’s future has already begun, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and City reportedly competing for his signature. Although, Guardiola claims that City signing Haaland as Aguero’s successor is “impossible.”
According to the latest Champions League 2021 updates, Sancho will be unavailable to face his former club, which puts even more pressure on Haaland to give Dortmund any chance of going through.
Haaland has an unbelievable record in the Champions League. He scored four of their five goals in their round-of-16 triumph over Sevilla, giving him 10 goals in six games this season. He also topped 20 career Champions League goals in just 14 games — 10 games quicker than the previous record held by Harry Kane.
However, he will now face arguably the best defence in Europe in City, who have conceded just one goal in eight Champions League games this season. Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard are decent players, but Sancho’s absence will make it so much more challenging for Haaland and Dortmund to trouble City’s backline.
This will only be the third head-to-head matchup between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. The two sides previously met in the 2012 Champions League group stage. They played out a 1-1 draw in Manchester, with Mario Balotelli’s 90th-minute penalty canceling out Marco Reus’ opener. BVB then won 1-0 in the reverse fixture in Dortmund.
However, that loss to Dortmund was City’s only home defeat to German opposition in Europe. They have nine wins in 12 matches, which includes a 2-0 win against Borussia Monchengladbach in the previous round.
|Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund||Manchester City Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 2.20|
|April 7, 03:00 (GMT+8)|
Unsurprisingly, SBOTOP odds have Manchester City installed as significant 1.41 favourites to win the first leg at home. Borussia Dortmund are priced at 6.60 while a draw is 4.80.
Considering City’s remarkably consistent form over the past three-plus months, it’s hard to make a case against them slipping up in the first leg at home.
A Dortmund team that had both Haaland and Sancho to lead lightning-quick counterattacks could have possibly given City some problems. But with Sancho out, coupled with Dortmund’s continuing issues in defence, City should run out quite comfortable winners in the end at the Etihad.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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