Two of the worlds wealthy clubs may meet in a European semi-final.
Man City face test of youth on road to glory
Despite all their domestic success in the past decade, Manchester City have only made it to one Champions League semi-final in that time. On the brink of a 5th Premier League title in under a decade, in yet another League Cup Final, and having reached another FA Cup semi-final, it’s almost a given that Man City will take home at least one trophy this season. But the quadruple is the word on their minds. The Citizens have the opportunity to win every competition they participated in this season, having only been absent from the Community Shield.
Standing in their way is a German side with a young superstar who is being touted for World Superstardom. Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is this seasons Champions League top scorer, and has been linked with a move to giants around the world, including Manchester City. Dortmund have a habit of developing young players into superstardom rather than buying already established players. The likes of Jadon, Sancho, Youssoufa Moukoko, and Jude Bellingham are on their books and all look like they’ll become big players for wherever they end up.
Man City have a slender advantage going into the 2nd leg. De Bruyne put them 1-0 up, before Dortmund had a goal scandalously ruled out by VAR. They did however get an equalizer through veteran Marco Reus. As important as that goal will be the winner, scored by another young superstar Phil Foden, could prove crucial. Dortmund need to either score and keep a clean sheet, or win by two goals. A 2-1 win for the Germans will see the game go to extratime. City are clear favorites with their team of established stars supplemented with younger talent.
Dortmund have had a difficult season this year domestically. In the Bundesliga, they find themselves in a Europa League place, 7 points off the Champions League places having failed to challenge at all for the title. They will be favorites for their DFB Pokal semi-final against 2nd tier opposition Holstein Kiel (who incidentally eliminated Bayern Munich). Manchester City however are favorites for all remaining competitions they find themselves in. It wouldn’t quite be a miracle if Dortmund find their way through, but it would involve their young talent rising up and City’s established stars failing to do so.
PSG look to right wrongs
Another game involving a player set to dominate World football. Mbappe scored 4 goals in the last 16 against Barcelona, and now has 2 in the first leg against the European and World Champions. The other part of the narrative around revolves around a present great that is absent. Bayern Munich had 12 shots on target laast week, if Lewandowski had been playing last week they could have won 12-3. But instead PSG took their chances and defended doggedly and won the away leg 2-3.
The French champions have shown they have learned some lessons from last seasons final defeat. Pochettino came in to the team having not won a trophy in his lengthy spell at Spurs, but took just 12 days to lift the Trophée des Champions. The manager and the team seem to be entering a defining era. While PSG have not been short of domestic success, the lack of a European title leaves a dent in their recent history.
Their opponents Bayern Munich have looked as though they are in an era of European dominance. The only out and out super team in last seasons competition, they were as good as the Barcelona side that should have won 3 in a row. Of course they didn’t. And Bayern are now without their biggest superstar of all, Lewangoalski. They have Muller, Goretzka, Kimmich, and an abundance of other talent. But not their biggest goal threat. PSG have multiple goal threats, but not quite the pedigree.
Bayern were poor defensively in the first leg, that likely won’t happen again. Chances will be harder to come by for PSG. But the magic man Mbappe can create things. Will Bayern have a bad day again? Will PSG have a good day or one of frustration?
Investments of Billions bring plenty of silverware, but they haven’t brought the big one yet.