by Zack Lambert (@bigbird8224)
April 14th, 2021
Manchester City F.C. at Borussia Dortmund
Spread: Dortmund (+0.5, +1); O/U: 3
Moneyline: Manchester City -155, Dortmund +415, Draw +330
Time/Location: 3:00 ET, BVB Stadion Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
Manchester City (WWWWL); 1st in Premier League
If you’re of the inclination to put Manchester City at the top of the world right now in terms of strength, you’d likely find little pushback from anyone, especially now that Bayern has exited the Champions League. Since buying Portuguese center back Rúben Dias the club have turned their defensive fortunes around, just in time to mesh with the midfield putting its woes to rest. The club are clearly running away with the Premier League title and at the moment should be considered favorites to do the quadruple this season.
Like I said last time, I’m not going to attempt to pick Pep’s lineup, especially when a win isn’t necessary to the team advancing in the competition, but do remember how much the quarterfinals can haunt this club and Guardiola. The goal of this team is to win the Champions League and nothing else. They’re not looking to make a good run at it, they’re looking to win it, so don’t expect the club to pull any punches simply because they’re up 2-1 on aggregate. They probably know that they were lucky to win the first leg, so look for the club to go out and attack from the jump.
Dortmund (WDLLW); 5th in Bundesliga
The lone German side left in the competition is hoping to avoid biting the bullet today, but their confidence can’t be too bad considering how well they played Manchester City in the first leg. Yes, they lost, but Jude Bellingham had a goal taken away incorrectly and it wouldn’t have been outlandish for the team to have drawn anyways. What did concern me from that first fixture was exactly what I predicted, the lack of effectiveness from Erling Håland when going up against the physicality of Manchester City’s defense. He was able to provide the assist on Marco Reus’s goal, but he needs to be banging in himself.
Injuries will be a big issue for the team come kickoff. The likes of Jadon Sancho, Axel Witsel, and Youssoufa Moukoko are already ruled out and it’s likely that Reus and Mats Hummels will miss the event as well. Those are huge misses for the team and the importance of their absences cannot be overstated. This team will be looking to attack and score the first goal with at least one more in mind. The club will be desperate to make things right from the first match and with a bit of luck, they might be able to do it. They’ll need to win the midfield which will be an excruciatingly tough thing to accomplish, but it’s possible. It only takes the slightest slip-up for Dortmund to get on their break and I think they can force a mistake or two in that sense.
Analysis and Pick
This is a pretty tough game to call considering the parameters of the match. Manchester City is already winning, but I don’t think that will stop them from putting the pressure on Dortmund in the final third. Any success from Dortmund will need to start with the midfield and fullbacks and break down the back line, but I think that’s a possibility all things considered. There isn’t a specific line that I love in this game for winnability or value, but I consider the best bet to be Manchester City -0.5, -1 at -120. I might put a couple of units on the play considering I only expect City to win by a goal, but if there’s value in this game I expect it to be there. City don’t want to risk this match and will pressure the Germans accordingly.