Borussia Dortmund v Manchester City Preview
MATCH IN A SENTENCE: With Borussia Dortmund having already won Group D and Manchester City scheduled to host Premier League leaders Manchester United on Sunday, Tuesday’s head-to-head could more resemble a B-side battle as both managers contemplate significant changes to their starting lineups.
BREAKDOWN: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insists he and his players aren’t looking ahead to Sunday’s Manchester derby, but with so much to lose in the Premier League table and only Thursday-night Europa League matches to gain, it would only make sense that City prioritise what’s coming up over what’s currently opposite them.
“In the Europa League you play on Thursdays, so that’s a bit tricky,” conceded Mancini in his pre-match press conference. “But,” he added, “we still want to make it and will try everything to go through and then go as far as possible there.”
About his side’s performance in the Champions League group stage, where they have yet to win, the Italian would only say that he was “disappointed” and that “there are times when there are teams in football that are better than you.”
It hasn’t just been City’s Champions League form that has let them down the past month. In eight matches since the beginning of November the reigning Premier League champions have won just three times and come into Tuesday’s match with only a single win from their last four outings.
Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, are coming off back-to-back 1-1 draws in the Bundesliga, although the most recent split decision was away to league leaders Bayern Munich.
Dortmund, the German league champions and cup winners, haven’t tasted defeat since a 2-1 loss to Schalke in the third week of October and wrapped up their Group D win with a 4-1 victory away to Ajax on Matchday Five.
They have the luxury of resting key players if they wish, but all manager Jurgen Klopp has so far offered is that he will hand Moritz Leitner a rare start on Tuesday.
“Sometimes in the Champions League clubs tend to rest players when they are through,” he said. “We hadn’t qualified in a long time and we will not do that.”
Mancini has revealed he will not use Yaya Toure from the start, and both Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero are likely to begin the match on the bench.
ESSENTIALS: Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski has a cold and a decision will be made on his availability closer to kickoff. Attacker Neven Subotic is injured, as are midfielders Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender.
Manchester City will be without playmaker David Silva, who may also miss the Manchester derby with a hamstring problem. Left-backs Aleksandar Kolarov (groin) and Gael Clichy (ankle) have already been ruled out, while midfielders James Milner, Jack Rodwell and right-back Micah Richards are also sidelined through injury.
Borussia Dortmund have never lost to an English opponent at the Westfalenstadion.
KEY BATTLE: Marco Reus has cooled off somewhat in recent matches, but Dortmund’s most important signing of the summer can expect to have a field day opposite Maicon, who will be starting at right-back for Manchester City.
FORMATIONS: Klopp will deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation fronted by Robert Lewandowski and supported by Blaszczykowski (if recovered), Mario Gotze and Reus. Mancini will also go 4-2-3-1 and will likely have Eden Dzeko up top with Scott Sinclair, Samir Nasri and Mario Balotelli just behind him from right to left.
BETLINE: Borussia Dortmund 1/1; Draw 11/4; Manchester City 5/2. These sides drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture on October 3.