team info, must-watch, dangerman and predictions – The offside rule

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unstoppable Erling Haaland will immediately return to haunt Dortmund by sending Man City to the last 16 as group leaders ahead of his former club in second place, while struggling Sevilla can reverse their poor start to the season by moving ahead of Copenhagen in the Europa League place. , writes Ruby Malone.

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Manchester City

There’s no doubt Pep Guardiola and his team are in the hunt for the Champions League title this season. It’s the only major trophy that has eluded the Spaniard in Manchester and appears to be his only blemish, with the club having won four of the last five Premier League titles. But with star signing Erling Haaland leading the front line and the depth of their squad as impressive as ever, it looks like this could well be City’s year.

The Sky Blues have won four of their opening six games this season and sit second in the league, dropping points in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Newcastle at St James’ Park and in the 1-1 draw from Saturday with Aston Villa struggling. But their 6-0 win over Nottingham Forest last weekend looked like an assertion of their league dominance – with Haaland scoring another hat-trick and making every defender across Europe shake in their boots. The notorious depth of the City squad will certainly be put to the test in mid-October, however, when they play four arduous games in nine days. That run begins with an away trip to fellow Premier League contenders Liverpool (October 16) and ends with a trip to Signal Iduna Park to play Dortmund (October 25). As if that weren’t enough, a trip to current league leaders Arsenal and a tough game against Graham Potter’s Brighton are sandwiched between the two. Ouch!

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Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund are no stranger to the Champions League group stages, having reached this stage of the competition every year since 2016. They have only managed to get through their group twice in that period, one of ‘among them being the group’s surprise dumping last season. C. The Blacks and Yellows finished third behind Ajax and Sporting CP and advanced to the Europa League, where they suffered another shock as they were knocked out by Rangers. They will therefore be looking to regain their consistent European form this season.

Dortmund reacted to the loss of Haaland by signing Ivory Coast international and former West Ham striker Sébastien Haller from Ajax in July. However, a shocking diagnosis of a testicular tumor sidelined the player for some time and so France forward Anthony Modeste was brought in from Bundesliga rivals Cologne to provide depth in attack. The Blacks and Yellows have also strengthened their defense with the German duo Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Sule. With the 2022 Winter World Cup triggering a very crowded fixture list, squad depth is exactly what Dortmund will need. Their group opener against Copenhagen is followed by an away trip to RB Leipzig (who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season) and a trip to the Etihad to face English giants Man City – all in eight days. Except !

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Seville

Sevilla are enjoying a solid third consecutive year in the Champions League group stage, but it remains to be seen whether they can recover from their hangover from last season. Their promising challenge for the 2021/22 La Liga title crumbled with a groan, with the side having won just three games in their last 12 and being propelled to fourth place by Atletico Madrid last day of the season. The six-time Europa League winners also failed to live up to their reputation in the competition after being knocked out by West Ham in the Round of 16. Their European opponents will certainly be looking to take advantage of this drop in form and confidence.

Sevilla’s terrible start to the season hasn’t helped lift the club’s spirits either – they’ve only managed to score one point in their first four games and have plummeted to 17th in La Liga. after losing 3-0 to a revived Barcelona. . Their lone point came in an alarming and nervous 1-1 draw with newly-promoted Valladolid, who currently sit second from bottom. Sevilla are now set to host a formidable Man City at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan on Tuesday night. One thing’s for sure, they won’t be looking forward to seeing Haaland again – the Norwegian played against them for Dortmund in the 2020/21 Champions League Round of 16 and scored twice in both legs to secure a comprehensive victory of 5-4. Then again, who can’t wait to face the imposing Norwegian striker?

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Copenhagen

Copenhagen will be delighted with their return to the Champions League group stage after a six-year hiatus. And for good reason – this time last year they were preparing for their opening game in the third division Europa Conference League! The Lions beat Turkish side Trabsponzor 2-1 on aggregate in the play-offs but that will probably be the end of the road for them. They haven’t left the Champions League group stages since 2010/11 and progress beyond that tough group just doesn’t seem feasible.

The Danish Superliga champions’ slow start to the season also doesn’t bode well for their ability to compete seriously in Group G. They have picked up just 12 points from eight games and are currently sixth (out of a possible 12) in the the league. Things certainly won’t get any easier for them as the fixtures heat up and they will be thrown straight into the deep end when they face Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday.

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Must-see game: Dortmund v Manchester City

Haaland’s return to Signal Iduna Park is not something you want to miss. The Norwegian has scored an incredible 62 goals in 67 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund, but now it will be the turn of the Yellow Wall to batten down the hatches and prepare for the onslaught! He won’t be the only familiar face to make a return either – Man City also signed Dortmund centre-back Manuel Akanji on the final day of the transfer window. The Swiss has made over 100 appearances for the Bundesliga club and if he gets the minutes he will be back within two months of his departure. As if you needed more reason to move on to this game, Man City also knocked Dortmund out of the 2020/21 Champions League quarter-final 4-2 on aggregate, so the Blacks and Yellows will be ready to go. get revenge !

List of meetings

Tuesday September 6: Dortmund – Copenhagen, 5.45 p.m.; Sevilla-Man City, 8 p.m.
Wednesday September 14: Man City against Dortmund; Copenhagen vs Sevilla, both at 8 p.m.
Wednesday October 5: Man City v Copenhagen Sevilla v Dortmund, both at 8 p.m.
Tuesday October 11: Copenhagen – Man City, 5.45 p.m.; Dortmund – Sevilla, 8 p.m.
Tuesday 25 October: Seville – Copenhagen, 5.45 p.m.; Dortmund v Man City, 8 p.m.
Wednesday November 2: Man City against Sevilla; Copenhagen v Dortmund, both at 8 p.m.

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Dangerous player: Erling Haaland

He’s the obvious choice, but there just aren’t many players who come close to Haaland when it comes to goal-scoring threat. He is the definition of a dangerman! The Norwegian’s brace in Dortmund’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Sevilla last season saw his 20th goal in the tournament, making him the youngest player to reach that number in the competition, and fewer matches than anyone. The colossal leader’s move to the Premier League this summer hasn’t slowed him down either, taking no time to lie down in the most competitive league in the world. He has already claimed a Premier League record having scored nine goals in his first five games, before extending his run to 10 in six yesterday. On top of that, he’s had back-to-back hat-tricks and is just one of five other players to do so in 30 years of competition… at 22. Scary!

Place of arrival predictions: 1. Manchester City, 2. Dortmund, 3. Sevilla, 4. Copenhagen

Most would have called on Man City to dominate this group last season and now Guardiola has added forwards Haaland and Julian Alvarez, it seems like a no-brainer. Dortmund’s experience in the competition will secure them second place, leaving the other two to fend for the all-important third position. If Sevilla can quickly turn their terrible start to the season around, they should have just enough talent to secure the Europa League spot.

Follow Ruby on Twitter @RubyGMalone

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