FootballManchester City

City look to get over their quarter-final hump

Sky Blues looking to punch their ticket to the Champions League semi-finals

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Psychological hurdle

Manchester City are looking to finally get past the quarter-finals of the Champions League when they travel to Germany to face Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

After winning the first leg 2-1 at the Etihad last week, the Sky Blues will look to get into the semi-finals for the first time since 2015-16.

The Citizens have crashed out at this stage of the competition in each of the past three seasons.

Lineup News

Sergio Aguero is out after picking up a knock in the victory over Leicester City, while Aymeric Laporte has a hip problem and is unlikely to see the field on Wednesday.

Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho is back training with his team, but he won’t play on Thursday because of a thigh problem.

He’s missed Dortmund’s last seven games in all competitions, with his team winning only two of those matches.

Defender Mats Hummels and striker Marco Reus could each miss Thursday’s match with injuries.

Striker Youssoufa Moukoko is out for the season with a ligament injury picked up from the international break.

Starting Slow

Thursday’s match could be a psychological test not only for City but for Dortmund as well.

On seven previous occasions, Die Schwarzgelben have lost the first leg of a Champions League knockout stage match.

They’ve gone on to lose six of those ties.

Champions League History

While City has struggled to get beyond the last eight of this competition, they are still in a good position heading into Thursday’s match.

In major European competitions, the Sky Blues have progressed from 13 of their 15 knockout stage ties after winning the opening leg.

The last time they didn’t do so was when they lost out on away goals to Monaco in 2016-17. 

Champions League history oddly does not favour Pep Guardiola’s side heading into Wednesday’s match.

In this competition’s history, the team who wins the first leg of a knockout stage match 2-1 at home has been eliminated (15) more times than they’ve progressed (12).

The British are coming

Borussia Dortmund has had their struggles against English opponents in recent memory on their home turf.

Die Schwarzgelben have lost their last two home games at Signal Iduna Park against English opposition.

Despite victories in five of their last seven home matches, Dortmund has won only eight of their previous 18 European games in their stadium (D5 L5).

City, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last 12 matches against German opponents in this competition.

They have also won their last two Champions League matches in Germany, three if you include the 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in Budapest in the previous round.

The Sky Blues have won their last 15 away games in all competitions.

The previous record for an English top-flight team was 11, which City set between May and November 2017.

On a roll

Perhaps Man City’s most valuable commodity has been at his very best in knockout matches.

Kevin De Bruyne has goals in each of his last three knockout matches in all competitions, including the winner against Everton in their FA Cup quarter-final.

It’s rare to see Erling Haaland off the scoresheet for Dortmund.

He hasn’t scored in his last three matches in all competitions for his club.

However, the Norwegian international does lead the Champions League in goals this season, with 10.

While he’s struggled to score recently, Dortmund captain Marco Reus has picked up the slack.

Reus has goals in each of his last two games for Dortmund, including the only goal in last week’s 2-1 defeat at Man City.

If he’s deemed healthy enough to play, Thursday will be the Dortmund captain’s 50th appearance in the Champions League.

Better late than never

Lately, Edin Terzic’s team has had a knack for dramatics.

In each of their last five matches in all competitions Dortmund have scored a goal within the last 10 minutes of a match or half.

Last weekend substitute Ansgar Knauff scored the winner in the 80th minute.

On the other hand, Man City has conceded late goals in their past two games in all competitions.

They conceded in injury time in a 2-1 defeat against Leeds on Saturday, and they gave up their goal to Dortmund last week in the 84th minute, though they did find a winner through Foden shortly after that.

Last week’s first leg was the first time City had conceded in the Champions League in 790 minutes.

That puts City in second for longest shutout string in the competition’s history.

Managers Words

City manager Pep Guardiola says for his team to advance past Dortmund on Thursday, they need a total team effort.

“If we want to win, we have to deserve it; we have to go for it. That is going to happen, the way we have done many times this season.

“Of course, we have to control emotions, but sometimes you need emotions in the good way to win these games.

“We are not going to do anything special, just go there to win the game, and each one will need to be a leader on the pitch.

“The guy who feels comfortable during the game take more responsibility to be more involved in the game.

“For the guys who are more nervous or quieter, do your job, play simple, and maybe five minutes later, you are ready to make a good performance. We need 11 player and the substitutes.”

Match Info

Thursday’s match from Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund goes at 8 pm.

A win or a draw would put City through to the semis.

They would also advance if they lost 3-2 or by any one-goal margin greater than that.

For Dortmund, the easiest way to advance would be to win 1-0, which would put them through on away goals.

A 2-1 win for them would force extra time.

Any victory by two goals or more would also put them through. (JSL).

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