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Talking Points: Showdown in Shenzhen!

TALKING POINTS: Reasons to be excited for Shenzhen Showdown

TALKING POINTS: Reasons to be excited for Shenzhen Showdown

City’s tour of China climaxes at Shenzhen’s Longgang Stadium on Thursday night where Borussia Dortmund provide the opposition.

Club journalist @markbooth_mcfc picks out five things to look out for…

1 Onto Shenzhen

As Vincent Kompany said in his video interview on the website, it was such a disappointment for our match in Beijing to be cancelled as the players were so looking forward to giving supporters here in China a rare opportunity to watch them in action.

So many had travelled from so far and so wide to watch what would have been the first Manchester derby to be played outside of the UK but at least we did manage to meet many of our passionate fans at the City Football Festival for a memorable day at the Century Golden Shopping Centre, as well as at Sunday’s training session at the Olympic Sports Centre.

And so we move onto Shenzhen where the outlook is fine for what should be an intriguing matchup with Borussia Dortmund… we can’t wait for kick-off!

2 Fernandinho in defence?

In a fascinating pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Pep gave a tantalising hint towards a potential innovation.

When asked if he might consider altering some of his players’ positions for the season ahead, Guardiola revealed that Fernandinho could potentially play in the centre of defence.

It’s a conversion he’s pulled off before with Javier Mascherano at Barcelona and you wouldn’t bet against him having similar success with City’s Brazilian.

Pep told journalists: “I think Fernandinho can play in ten positions. 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 build-up. We think he can play there. I like midfielders to play at centre back because they can play good passes.”

Will he have a look at Fernandinho there on Thursday night?

3 GK Union

City and Dortmund have only met twice before – in the UEFA Champions League back in 2012/13.

The German outfit undoubtedly had the better of the two encounters, with only a wonder show from Joe Hart preventing City from going down to two defeats.

Joe has returned to training after his break following Euro 2016 but it remains to be seen whether Pep Guardiola will deem him ready to take part in his first pre-season clash against last season’s Bundesliga runners-up.

Willy Caballero, one of City’s star performers against Bayern Munich, is expected to get some minutes, while Angus Gunn will hope to follow up his senior debut with a second appearance in just over a week.

Caballero spoke to ManCity.com on the eve of the game and told us he’s expecting a tough assignment – read his thoughts here.

4 Regeneration

Borussia Dortmund seem to be one of those canny clubs that always manage to regenerate and stay competitive when they lose key players in the transfer market.

Despite the sales of Ilkay Gundogan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mats Hummels this summer, the early signs are that Thomas Tuchel’s side are stronger than ever before, thanks to the signings of Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze, Ousmane Dembele, Sebastian Rode and Raphael Guerreiro.

They’re a formidable proposition and are expected to provide Bayern Munich with a real fight in the upcoming Bundesliga season, meaning City are also in for a real test in their second friendly of pre-season.

5 Dembele the dangerman?

There will be no winner of this year’s ICC competition in China following Sunday night’s cancelled game but Borussia Dortmund can finish with a 100% record if they best City.

Dortmund were awesome in their 4-1 demolition of United in Shanghai with new signing Ousmane Dembele looking rapid and incisive down the flank.

The 19-year old French winger is tipped to be one of the continent’s breakout stars in the next season and he certainly ensured a miserable evening for United’s full-backs last week.

Angelino and Pablo Maffeo were impressive in City’s narrow defeat to Bayern Munich last Wednesday but they could be in for a different kind of test if they feature again against Dortmund and their speedy teenager.

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Dressed in the new home and away kits, their progress up arguably the most famous manmade construct on the planet was only slowed by a series of selfies and panoramas on their phones – their open-mouthed smiles conveying that they were as excited to be there as we were.

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Pep Guardiola has thanked his players ahead of Thursday night’s (12:30pm BST) game against Borussia Dortmund.

The new City boss expressed his heartfelt gratitude to members of his squad for the hard work they have put in so far in pre-season, as well as their efforts to understand his new methods.

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