Can Manchester City get the job done? The talking points ahead of Dortmund tie

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PA Sport Staff
·3-min read
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Manchester City head to Germany on Wednesday night to face Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Phil Foden’s last-minute goal in Manchester last week gave City a narrow 2-1 win after Marco Reus had cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s first-half strike.

Here the PA news agency looks at five key talking points ahead of the match.

Quarter-final hurdle

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – UEFA Champions League – Quarter Final – Second Leg – Etihad Stadium
City have suffered three consecutive quarter-final exits under Pep Guardiola (Martin Rickett/PA)

City are yet to make it beyond the quarter-final stage of the competition since Pep Guardiola – now 10 years removed from the second of his two European Cup crowns as a manager – took charge in 2016, losing at this stage of the competition in each of the last three seasons. Their stellar play in the second half of the Premier League has made City favourites to lift the trophy this year but that was true too when they were beaten by Lyon at this stage last term. It presents a mental hurdle for the players to get over.

Defensive solidity the key

Manchester United v Manchester City – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – Old Trafford
Ruben Dias and John Stones have been at the heart of so much of City’s success this season (Shaun Botterill/PA)

In the seven games that have seen City knocked out of this competition, Guardiola’s side conceded a whopping 19 goals as they paid a heavy price for mistakes at the back. But problems in defence have been few and far between this season thanks to the enormous impact of Ruben Dias and the resurgence of John Stones. Reus’ 84th-minute strike was a major blow as Dortmund got a precious away goal last week, but given City’s relentless threat in attack, solving the problems at the back has given them the belief that this can be their year.

Reaction needed

Manchester City v Leeds United – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
Stuart Dallas helped Leeds inflict a rare defeat on City on Saturday (Michael Regan/PA)

City come into the game on the back of a defeat after a much-changed side was sunk by a Stuart Dallas brace at the weekend, losing 2-1 to Leeds as the Northern Ireland international got the winner in stoppage time. While it is easy to point to the changes Guardiola made there was no shortage of experience in the side City put out, and Guardiola will demand a much-improved performance in Dortmund.

Haaland due a goal?

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund – UEFA Champions League – Quarter Final – First Leg – Etihad Stadium
Erling Haaland will once again be the centre of attention (Nick Potts/PA)

Erling Haaland continues to hog the limelight as speculation persists that the Dortmund striker will be swapping the two clubs come the summer. The Norway international does not have a goal for club or country in his last six outings, more than a drought given his own incredible standards, but has scored against every club he’s faced in the Champions League. City are only halfway to avoid adding themselves to that statistic.

Problems for Dortmund

England v Republic of Ireland – International Friendly – Wembley Stadium
Ex-City winger Jadon Sancho will miss out through injury (Nick Potts/PA)

While Haaland may or may not be a future City player, Dortmund’s ex-City winger will be missing as England international Jadon Sancho is not yet ready to return from a muscular problem despite returning to training. The 21-year-old is one of a number of injury concerns for Dortmund as first-leg goalscorer Reus and experienced defender Mats Hummels both limped out of the weekend victory over Stuttgart.