Manchester City are chasing an extraordinary quadruple and they can take the advantage in their Champions League quarter-final with Borussia Dortmund tonight to bring a spot in the semi-finals into view.
With just eight games of the Premier League season to go, City hold a 14-point lead over Manchester United, are 4/9 to beat Tottenham in the EFL Cup final and are just 4/5 to win the FA Cup, with the almighty quadruple just a 6/1 shot. European glory has eluded Pep Guardiola and City so far, with defeats to Monaco, Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon as favourites when strongly fancied to progress on each occasion in the past, but this season they look as good as ever, especially in defence, and are surely better placed for European glory.
Defensively they look transformed, with just 21 goals conceded in 31 Premier League games with Reuben Dias having an immense breakout season whilst John Stones is playing some of the best football of his career and Aymeric Laporte hasn’t conceded a goal in his last four games; For good measure, they’ve kept seven straight clean sheets in the Champions League.
They’ve won 26 of their last 27 matches in all competitions and are bursting with threats from a fully fit squad – Kevin de Bryune was imperious in a 2-0 win at Leicester on Saturday where Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres and Phil Foden were all on the bench, and whatever side Guardiola selects, they’re entirely deserving of favouritism here.
Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund
UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg
20:00 BT Sport 3 HD / BT Sport Ultimate HD
(Maximum 10 matches)
DEC 2012 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Manchester City
OCT 2012 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Manchester City 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
Playing Dortmund will be a big step up on City’s tests so far in the Champions League, especially with Erling Haaland in tow, but this might be an ideal time to be facing the visitors. A 2-1 defeat at home to top four rivals Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday left them seven points off the Champions League qualification pace and they’ve now conceded 39 Bundesliga goals this season.
In the shape of Haaland, Thorgan Hazard, and Marco Reus Dortmund have a front three that can test City’s rear guard – and Jude Bellingham is a midfield talent to watch – but Mats Hummels has looked overworked this season and Dortmund have conceded at least two goals in four of their last five games. An open shootout should suit City just fine and they can pass a one goal handicap in victory today.
Elsewhere in Spain, Real Madrid host Liverpool in the first leg of what should be a fascinating quarter-final with the market struggling to separate the pair. Madrid, who are in a dogfight for La Liga with Atletico and Barcelona, arrive here in a good run of form with four straight wins and meet a Liverpool side whose confidence should be high after a dominant 3-0 win at Arsenal over the weekend.
It’s not easy to make a choice between the two – the twin threats of Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema have scored nine goals in Madrid’s last four games and they will be eager to target a defence shorn of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip – but Liverpool’s likely defensive pairing of Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak have improved with playing time together and the return to form of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson could be absolutely crucial, along with Fabinho being able to play in midfield. This looks one to watch.
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