Whatever the result against Leicester, we are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League ... way ahead of the rest and the view from up here is just beautiful. I don't think that I need to post the Premier League table here ... you all probably look at it a dozen times a day anyway.
As for Borussia Dortmund, they sit 5th in the Bundesliga, just outside the Champions League places and have a proper fight on their hands this year to qualify. Playing Champions League next season isn't important for the club just for financial reasons or prestige but also to keep hold of their big players. Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho being two which are clear targets for clubs across Europe anyway and should they fail to offer them Champions League next season, their departure this summer will become all the more likely.
And a quick head-to-head reminder ... we have played them twice in a previous Champions League campaign at the group stage back in 2012/13 season. We managed to draw 1-1 at home while losing the away game 1-0. The performance of Joe Hart in the home draw remains the highlight of our previous meetings with them, but that also highlights that it was such a long time ago that none of that past record (of not having won against them) is of much relevance as far as this tie is concerned.
Vor und Nach
(Before & After)
Yes we have just played a crucial game against Leicester City in our league ... but our 14 points lead (15 from Leicester) before the start of the game completely nullified the importance of this game for us, which otherwise could have been a very crucial tie in the title race.
Borussia Dortmund on the other hand are fighting to get in to their top four. Their game earlier today (which had just finished just an hour before ours was to kick off) was against Eintracht Frankfurt who were (before that game) 4th in Bundesliga on 47 points while Dortmund were next in 5th with 43 points. The classic six pointer for them then.
A win for Dortmund would have taken them to 46 pts, just one point off that top four. A draw would have kept those two four points apart but now that Frankfurt has gone and won that game, they've have gone on to 50, seven points clear of Dortmund ... with just seven games to go. (I have already updated that Bundesliga table above in the previous section).
Whatever the result for them today should not concern us at all ... but what mattered was that the game itself mattered for Dortmund and quite significantly too as that meant they couldn't rest any key players today with an eye on our Champions League clash ahead and had to focus all their energies on that game first ... unlike us (which our starting XI against Leicester clearly reflected).
The same is true for the games that come after this mid-week clash for both clubs ... we have Leeds United at home and as much as we'd like to wrap up the Premier League early, we still have the luxury to completely discard that game and focus on the return leg next week ... should the result this mid-week isn't to our liking.
Dortmund on the other hand play against Stuttgart, a decent top-half team, and they're away as well ... (read an interesting bit on that game in the next section) ... but more importantly Dortmund's league position and that very tight fight for the top four won't allow them any flexibility on their domestic front. Actually should we win the first leg comprehensively and take a decent enough lead into the second leg, they might even be tempted to prioritize their 'after' league game next weekend which is consequentially the 'before' game for the return leg.
This is how the next two weeks look for both teams:
Sat 3 - 3:30pm - Eintracht Frankfurt (H) - Bundesliga
Tue 6 - 9:00pm - Manchester City (A) - CL QF
Sat 10 - 6:30pm - VfB Stuttgart (A) - Bundesliga
Wed 14 - 9:00pm - Manchester City (H) - CL QF
Sun 18 - 3:30pm - SV Werder Bremen (H) - Bundesliga
Sat 3 - 5:30pm - Leicester City (A) - PL
Tue 6 - 8:00pm - Borussia Dortmund (H) - CL QF
Sat 10 - 12:30pm - Leeds United (H) - PL
Wed 14 - 8:00pm - Borussia Dortmund (A) - CL QF
Sun 18 - 4:30pm - Chelsea (N) - FA Cup SF
All times listed above are local to the teams. Germany is in Western European Time zone which is GMT+1
The Opposing Manager
Edin Terzić, their current (interim) manager, was born on 30th October 1982 ... yes, he is (relatively) a baby. He does not have a huge playing career behind him as a footballer (at the highest level of the game) and in his playing days mostly plied his trade at the fourth level of professional leagues in Germany ... but he does have a lot of experience as an assistant coach.
He started out as a scout at Borussia Dortmund in 2010/11, where he then trained as a coach and progressed quickly at various youth levels within the club. Not many would remember him from his time in the Premier League but his top level first team experience came as the assistant manager of Slaven Bilić at West Ham between 2015 and 2017 ... where he had come with Slaven himself as part of his backroom staff after their time together at Beşiktaş in Turkey between 2013 and 2015.
When Slaven (and his coaching team's) time came to an end at West Ham, Edin re-joined Borussia Dortmund where up until a few months ago (before he became the interim manager) he was the assistant to Dortmund's previous manager, Lucien Favre ... who was fired the day after Dortmund lost 1-5 to Stuttgart (at home) back in December. That same Stuttgart that they now have to play away from home ... sandwiched in between the two legs of this tie.
Since Dortmund have already appointed their next manager, a certain Marco Rose (the current Borussia Mönchengladbach manager) who will take over this summer, that kind of leaves Edin Terzić in no-man land. Not sure yet if the new manager would bring in his own coaching team with him or will Edin step back down into his assistant's role. That appointment for next season also means there is no personal incentive for him to perform now as an audition to keep the top job. I am sure on a human psychological level that just means he isn't going to be as motivated as say a permanent manager would be in his place ... and his targets (and expectations) might be to achieve a higher position in the domestic league more than going further in Europe.
A large number of us City fans will be of the belief that this game is over two legs so let's not try to force the issue here and as long as we are alive in the second leg, we can finish the job then.
Yes that is true as a matter-of-fact statement ... but only if Champions League was the sole competition you were looking at on its own. However, if you add everything else and look at the April schedule for us and our involvement in all four competitions thus far and also want to keep the hopes of the Quad alive ... it's probably best that we finish this tie in the first leg itself.
That will allow us to focus next week on the FA Cup Semi Final against Chelsea rather than on the second leg itself. Yes, that very Semi Final which has now been scheduled for Saturday following the second leg (instead of the more sensible Sunday) inconveniencing us the most out of the four semi-finalists. From now on, it's quite simply looking at two games each week and deciding which is the bigger of the two and so playing our in-form players there. This week Leicester was a nothing game (compared to this tie ahead) ... and the result of this tie would dictate which game is bigger next week - the return leg or the cup Semi Final ... so let's finish the tie while we can and we won't have to prioritize next week.
Not convinced yet?
OK, let me give you another reason why we should want this tie sorted in the 1st leg itself ... remember the two legs against Spurs two seasons ago? Exactly ... I don't want to leave things hanging in the second leg where a VAR discretion (on which video frame to pause for a decision) or a Referee brain-fart on the field (whether intentional or not - depending on your view of the UEFA conspiracies) can cost us heavily ... let's just not leave things too late.
Finish it now ... if we can!
There is no point in trying to sit back and take a narrow single goal lead or a draw into next week. Sure, if the game stacks up against us and a certain in-form striker goes and takes the first two chances he gets in the first ten minutes against us then yes shore up by all means and try and minimize the damage but should we get an opportunity to go for the kill, then let's go for the kill. Win it this week itself so there is no pressure going into the second leg ... and more importantly take it away from the hands of referees and officials leaving no margins for any possible manipulation (whether by design or by sheer coincidence/incompetence). If it doesn't go according to plan, then yes there's always that second leg ... but all I'm saying is let's not change our game and try to be overly conservative (we all remember Lyon too well, even if we don't want to).
Having advocated what I have above and my wish that this tie is well and truly over in the 1st leg itself ... I don't quite see it going that one-way and expect it to be a tight and cagey affair. And 'he' is bound to score at least one against us; that's just what happens in football ...
Manchester City 2 - 1 Borussia Dortmund