Manchester City host Borussia Dortmund tonight in a UEFA Champions League Group G game. The fixture also sees BVB face former hero Erling Haaland after he completed his move to England from Germany earlier in the summer.
The Norwegian striker has taken no time adapting to life in the Premier League, leading the golden boot race with 10 goals in his first 6 league appearances. Haaland is on course to smash Mo Salah’s PL record of 32 goals in a single campaign, a feat that would also undoubtedly put an end to the Bundesliga tax debate.
Haaland’s Champions League record is simply phenomenal, becoming the youngest and fastest player to score 25 UCL goals, doing it aged 22 years and 47 days old in just his 20th UCL appearance.
Dortmund players are fearful of coming up against their ex-player tonight, with a few of them suggesting it’s a difficult job to stop Haaland.
The Man City striker’s former captain Marco Reus spoke to the Guardian ahead of the game about how difficult it is to stop the Norwegian: “How do you stop him? Good question. It’s not easy to stop him. One of the keys is not to be too late with your decisions, to be good at anticipating what is going to happen.
“You have to stay close to him to be able to stop him as much as possible for 90 minutes. Then you just have to hope he doesn’t have his best day.”
England International and BVB midfielder Jude Bellingham echoed his captain’s sentiments when asked how to stop Haaland: “I’m not really sure to be honest!
“We’ll have to find out. He’s a player with a lot of quality and a lot of physical attributes that make him dangerous and like I said it’s not an individual task, it’s something that the team have to deal with collectively.”
Pep Guardiola reminded his team that Dortmund know some of the City players very well, with Manuel Akanji, Sergio Gómez, Ilkay Gündogan and Haaland all spending time at BVB in the past. The Man City manager warned his squad that Dortmund could use this to their advantage.
Speaking to the Guardian on Tuesday ahead of their clash, Guardiola said: “They know these players better than I know Dortmund players, that’s for sure.
“They can get that benefit but we’ll see if it’s an advantage or disadvantage, but these three know the qualities of the Dortmund players too.”
Man City hope the acquisition of Haaland is the final piece of the squad needed to finally get over the line in the UCL. Haaland’s teammate and former BVB star himself, Ilkay Gündogan, spoke about the striker and City’s chances of UCL success given his arrival: “The numbers speak for themselves.
“He’s doing great on the pitch but his character, attitude and determination off the pitch is something incredible.
“We will see [if Haaland makes City favourites] . It will be a very tough competition and little details can decide the outcome.” Tonight’s game at the Etihad kicks off at 9pm as both teams aim for their second win of the group stage. A result that should effectively guarantee safe passage to the next round of the UCL.