Manchester City will hope their first and final match of the China leg of the International Champions Cup goes on without any hiccups when they play Borussia Dortmund in Shenzhen on Thursday. After the Manchester derby against Manchester United in Beijing had to be cancelled owing to an unfit pitch, Pep Guardiola will hope his team get a proper workout against Thomas Tuchel's exciting side.
City will need to be at their best to compete against Dortmund, who showed their superior preparation and ability in a 4-1 rout against an undercooked Manchester United side. With Guardiola's side only playing the one preseason match so far, a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, Dortmund will fancy their chances of picking up their second consecutive win and with it clinching the Chinese edition of the International Champions Cup 2016.
The Bundesliga heavyweights, who know a thing or two about facing a Guardiola team, however, will be without their star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the Gabon international flying back home early to be with his partner, who is set to give birth to their second child.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Marcel Schmelzer and Dzenis Burnis are also doubts for the game after missing training on Wednesday, while high-profile new signings Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle are yet to link-up with their new team. However, as they showed against Manchester United last week, even without their main men, this Borussia Dortmund side – new signing Ousmane Dembele showed against Manchester United just how talented a player he is -- are a force to reckon with for any team.
What Guardiola is trying to do at Manchester City is to turn them from just another big-name side to THE big-name team in England. To do that, time is essential, but also the right personnel and strategy, with Guardiola already considering shifting Fernandinho from midfield to central defence.
"I think Fernandinho can play in ten positions," Guardiola told reporters. "He has the quality to play wherever. He could play at centre-back. He's a quick, fast player, so intelligent, aggressive and strong in the air.
"He has the quality to create good buildup. We think he can play there – maybe Fernando too, but he's not as quick. I like midfielders to play at centre-back because they can play good passes."
Guardiola is also happy to see that this match against Borussia Dortmund looks set to take place after the disappointing cancellation of the Manchester derby. "Tomorrow we are so happy to finally play here in China," the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager added. "We are disappointed by what happened – we need to play games. We wanted to play against United but the pitch was not acceptable. Now we're happy to play this game.
"Maybe we play one friendly game next week in our centre. We're trying to look for a team from the Championship or League One. Maybe."
Where to Watch Live
Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City is scheduled for a 7.30 p.m. local time (5 p.m. IST, 12.30 p.m. BST, 7.30 a.m. ET) start.
India: TV: Sony ESPN. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
China: TV: Guangdong Sports and LeTV.
Canada: TV: TSN 4 and 5. Live Streaming: TSN TV.
USA: TV: ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes. Live Streaming: Watch ESPN.
Philippines, Indonesia and France: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
Thailand: TV: PPTV.
Singapore: TV: Starhub. Live Streaming: Starhub Go.
Australia: TV: Optus Sport.
Spain: TV: Mega TV.
Germany: TV: Sport1.