International Champions Cup: Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund – Lineups, Preview & Prediction
Premier League title winners Manchester City get their pre-season underway against a Dortmund side under new boss Lucien Favre.
02:00 BST, Saturday 21st July, Soldier Field (Chicago, USA)
The International Champions Cup gets underway on Saturday when Premier League title holders Manchester City face Borussia Dortmund, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga under the guidance of two managers; Peters Bosz and Stoger.
With Lucien Favre now at the helm, however, there’s a lot of soul-searching to be done over the course of this pre-season campaign, with Manchester City the second game the former Nice boss has managed.
As a host of key names miss out for both sides due to their participation in the World Cup, both squads are heavily composed of teenagers, as Pep Guardiola and Favre cast a keen eye over those perhaps capable of cementing a spot in the first team squad. This includes the likes of Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic, Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz.
Manchester City Lineup
Manchester City are without their World Cup stars, including Ederson, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and captain Vincent Kompany.
France’s Benjamin Mendy and Portugal’s Bernardo Silva have been included, however, alongside a host of youthful names such as Brahim Diaz, Phil Foden and Tosin Adarabioyo. New £60 million signing Riyad Mahrez is also included.
Borussia Dortmund Lineup
Favre arrived in the United States with the same squad that beat Austria Vienna, with the addition of Mahmoud Dahoud. New loan signing Achraf Hakimi, as well as those eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup, are unlikely to feature against Manchester City.
Julian Weigl is, too, injured, whilst fans will have to wait to see Manuel Akanji in action. All eyes will be on American talent Christian Pulisic, though, as he prepares for his second game on home soil with Dortmund.
Key Battle: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) vs Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
Signing for Manchester City from Leicester in a £60 million deal, this is the first time fans will get to see Riyad Mahrez in action in the iconic sky blue. With Raheem Sterling, the first choice right winger, on holiday after the World Cup, Mahrez has an opportunity to force himself into Guardiola’s thinking.
Used to playing counter-attacking football and creating chances for Jamie Vardy, it will be interesting to see how Mahrez adapts to Guardiola’s possession-based style of play, or whether the Spaniard opts for a counter-attacking approach to benefit Mahrez.
On Dortmund’s right is Christian Pulisic, an American held in high esteem by the USMNT’s coaching staff. His speed will be vital on the break against City, whilst it’s a chance, too, for the teenager to earn a starting berth in the coming Bundesliga campaign.
Favre finding his feet
Given this is his first season in charge of Dortmund, it will be interesting to see what tactics Favre utilises against Manchester City.
He played a 4-4-2 and a 3-4-3 in the 1-0 friendly win against Austria Vienna, with Maximilian Philipp and Alexander Isak leading the line – joined by Andre Schurrle in a three-man trident – but he might opt for more bodies in midfield against a strong City side that aim to retain the ball.
Favre is still settling on a system for this group of Dortmund players, moreover, but he could opt for a counter-attacking style in this friendly, using the speed of Pulisic and Jadon Sancho, particularly, on the break, fed by the creative passing range of Mario Gotze or Dahoud.
A change of Hart
Former City number one Joe Hart was unceremoniously axed from Guardiola’s plans and sent on loan to West Ham last season, which proved unsuccessful, though his surprise inclusion in the pre-season squad could be indicative of a change of heart.
Claudio Bravo has consistently proved unreliable as a number two, and there’s opportunity for Hart to reinstate himself as the club’s backup ‘keeper. He’s unlikely to start, but he may be given 45 minutes to present a case for further involvement throughout the season.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
The aim of this game is to improve the squads’ fitness, and with Favre likely to make wholesale changes at halftime, deploying a variety of different shapes and tactics, Manchester City will win this one. Their players are more settled and they have strength in their squad, despite the absences of a number of key members.
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