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There is nothing worse than a dead second leg of a Champions League knockout tie. Now, some of you who have had to sit through Martin Tyler call a West Brom and Newcastle scoreless draw on a Sunday afternoon may disagree, but at least there was conceivably something to play for in that instance.
That’s very much the case as Borussia (ctrl+c, ctrl+v) Monchengladbach travel to Budapest to take on a Manchester City team who actually rested players against Fulham for this tie, which does not add any enthusiasm levels for the Germans, you would imagine.
20:00: Man City v Borussia Monchengladbach
BT Sport 2
And for those who think that perhaps their league form could be a launchpad for Mönchengladbach to make this a contest, I will now inform you that despite qualifying for this competition last year, they’re currently in the bottom half of the Bundesliga table.
They haven’t won in any of their league seven games in the league, nor in any of their last three Champions League ties. If you think they can win, let alone win by two against Manchester City – well – maybe you are better off watching West Brom and Newcastle. Here’s a bet builder to at least add some excitement to this dead rubber.
This game is not a priority. At least we didn’t think it was until Pep Guardiola took a calculated risk against Fulham. Or was it even that, given their dominance in the league too? When you think about it – how often has a manager with a Premier League game and a midweek Champions League knockout tie in March been able to feasibly rest players for both if he wanted to?
You’d imagine Guardiola will want this one put to bed early. And maybe the sad part is that Borussia Monchengladbach probably will too.
There’s just no way that City put them to the sword because that’s not their style in knockout competition. What you have to remember is that, while it doesn’t count in betting terms, City are two-nil up already and them hitting Mönchengladbach for six doesn’t aid them in any way, shape or form.
If anything, exerting energy midweek ahead of the run-in could be folly, let alone risking injury as bigger knockout ties await them down the line. This is the one trophy both City and Abu Dhabi desperately want to win, and they’re not going to sacrifice that by being over-exuberant against a side they’ve already all but beaten.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this already, but they cannot win to save their lives. And if they can’t win the game, they’ll be lining up for damage limitation, knowing full-well that the only way they can make this a harder night’s work than it needs to be is by scoring.
Maybe that sounds too harsh, but it’s often the reality for out-of-form sides coming into European ties and I don’t see it being any different here.
If Phil Foden isn’t in the England squad, Gareth Southgate should be sacked. Yes, the national side is as good as it’s ever been right now, but Foden is still the only player who can play in between the lines and produce something out of absolutely nothing.
He’s the X-factor, but he’s a rarer breed – he’s a consistent x-factor and he’ll be the most expensive English player of all-time if he leaves Manchester City before he’s thirty.
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