The Blues have picked up 10 points from their opening four matches having beaten Sevilla, Dortmund and Copenhagen in the first three, before drawing 0-0 with the latter in the previous round of matches. That stalemate in Denmark ensured City will be in the knockout stages of the competition.
Pep Guardiola’s side are one of four teams to have guaranteed qualification, along with Napoli, Club Brugge and Bayern Munich, but now it’s a case of securing top spot in the group. The last-16 draw sees sides who finish first in the group paired with a second-placed club, in theory meaning those who top the table should face an easier opponent in the next round.
For City a point away to Dortmund will see them mathematically ensure they take first place, with the German club on seven points so far, three fewer than City. With teams on equal points separated by head-to-head records, as long as the Premier League champions avoid defeat on matchday five they will wrap up top spot.
In such a scenario, that would allow Guardiola to rest players for next week’s final group game at home against Sevilla, a fixture which is sandwiched between Premier League encounters with Leicester City and Fulham.
Ahead of game, Guardiola said he is looking forward to returning to the Signal Iduna Park, a ground he knows well from his time as Bayern Munich manager. “It is a fantastic stadium - everyone knows it - the atmosphere and the attractive football they play,” said the Catalan.
“When I was here in Germany, I played against Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel and it was top. Fantastic atmosphere and stadium - happy to come back here.
“We know how difficult it will be. Medium block, ability to counter, or more aggressive. It will be a tough game, we know it. We are already qualified and this is the most important thing, especially with the World Cup, but we feel it is important to finish on top of the group.”