Not even Haaland can stop Man City's dominance
The quarter finals of the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League get underway on Tuesday evening. Whilst current English champions Liverpool take on Real Madrid, the almost certain winners of this season's crown face an out-of-form Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad. The visitors lost a crunch clash with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga at the weekend, which will almost certainly condemn them to at least one year outside of the elite continental competition, lying as they do seven points off fourth place. Meanwhile, City went to third placed Leicester City and swept them aside in a dominant display, which augurs extremely well for their confidence going into this one. Not even the likes of prolific striker Erling Haaland will be able to combat Pep Guardiola's charges. Read our preview here:
More than Phil-ing in
Although Sergio Agüero, who has made his intention to leave at the end of the term public, didn't impress in the win over the Foxes, the Citizens had plenty of other individuals who did. The defence as a whole restricted a dangerous attack to very few openings, Benjamin Mendy got the crucial opener from left-back, and Rodrí held court in midfield, in turn allowing his teammates to break forward. Kevin De Bruyne replicated the form he continued in a Belgium shirt back to club competition, and was once again chief tormentor of the opposition. Guardiola had the likes of Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres, and Phil Foden to call upon from the bench, and at least two of those will start against BVB. The later enjoyed three outings for the Three Lions, and will start nominally on the left of an attacking three for City, which is precisely where Dortmund look their weakest. Though he has been utilised in almost every conceivable position from central midfield onwards, he has looked most potent there, working in between the lines and dragging defenders out of position. In truth, he's now one of the first names on the teamsheet, and someone his club will rely on for many years to come.
Let it be, Jude
Temporary boss Edin Terzić has had a 50% win ratio in his time in charge to date, but many of those came in the earlier days of his tenure. Die Schwarzgelben have been off the pace for quite some time now, even though their journey to the last eight in the Champions League has masked that to a certain extent. The 2-1 home reverse on Saturday was precipitated by a poor defensive performance, in spite of a Emre Can and Mats Hummels combining for their equaliser. In goal, Marwin Hitz could still get the nod, whilst fans will be hoping Danish defensive midfielder Thomas Delaney can carry over his efficacy for his country to being the sole screen in front of the back four on Tuesday. Elsewhere, Jude Bellingham continues to grow in stature, and is an outside bet to be in Gareth Southgate's final England squad for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament. Again though, he will have his work cut out to contain just how strident his adversaries are proving to be at this moment in time.
Far from Rose-y
There is little doubt that any side containing Haaland, Thorgan Hazard, and Marco Reus has the capability of at least scoring once, or even deeply troubling their opponents. However, there's been a lack of consistency when stringing results together, which is something incoming manager Marco Rose must address in the summer, along with the immediate future of the Norwegian hitman, who'll almost certainly be frustrated at the lack of Champions League football, barring a minor miracle. City will be in little mood to be sympathetic, and there is a great need now to improve their history in the competition. Dortmund, in their current state, afford them an excellent chance of having one foot in the semis against Bayern Munich or PSG, whilst bet365 have odds of 3.00 for a home win with a handicap of -2 goals.