Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players to not take Borussia Dortmund and their “incredible quality” lightly in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg.
City saw off Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals Borussia Monchengladbach to book their last-eight spot, while Die Schwarzgelben edged past Sevilla.
It will be the first meeting between the sides since the group stage of the 2012-13 season, which saw a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium and a 1-0 win for Dortmund in the reverse fixture in Germany.
Despite a seven-game unbeaten run in the Champions League, Dortmund have endured a difficult domestic campaign, with Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt leaving them seven points adrift of fourth place.
Guardiola knows Dortmund well, having come up against them regularly during his time as Bayern Munich coach between 2013 and 2016, and insists he will not be taking Edin Terzic’s side lightly, irrespective of their league struggles.
“If one person in Manchester knows Dortmund, it’s me,” he told a media conference. “The culture of this club, the way they play, and I will not find one single player from Dortmund without quality.
And on we go!
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“They spend a lot of money on young players and they pay a lot of money to agents to bring these players there because they have incredible quality. Incredible.
“Maybe they didn’t find consistency in the Bundesliga this season, but in one game or two games they are able to do anything.
“We saw this against Sevilla. Sevilla knows European competition like few teams in Europe; they won three Europa Leagues in a row. Sevilla know how to play two legs and Dortmund beat them.
“I have incredible respect for what Dortmund has done. I was in Germany for three years; I know their quality.”
Central to Dortmund’s hopes will be Erling Haaland, who has scored in each of his last six Champions League matches.
Should he find the net at the Etihad Stadium, the Norway international will become just the fifth player in the competition’s history to score in seven in a row, joining Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani and Ruud van Nistelrooy in an elite group.
Guardiola is well aware of Haaland’s talent, with City rumoured to be a possible destination for him at the end of the season, but he said Dortmund have plenty more players who can cause his side problems.
“It’s not just Haaland, but [Jadon] Sancho, [Marco] Reus, [Mats] Hummels,” he added. “Emre Can can play seven, eight, nine positions. They have big holding midfielders in the middle and when they run, they kill you.
“The quality is there. The players don’t know it because we haven’t spoken about Dortmund yet, but we’re going to prepare for the game like we did against Leicester City.
“We will look at what they do, their strengths, their weaknesses, and try to be aggressive and try to win this game. And then travel in one week to Dortmund to win the second game. This is the target.”
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