What: UEFA Champions League – Group D
Who: Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund
When: Wednesday 3rd October, 2012, at 19:45 UK Time
Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Getting Off The Mark
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was left fuming after his side’s opening Champions League game, when a 2-1 advantage over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu was turned into a 3-2 defeat in the final five minutes. In a group that also contains Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, three points, or even one, away to Real Madrid could have been crucial – now Mancini’s men must try to get off the mark at home.
The Italian still has supreme confidence in his side, even if he would have to admit that they have conceded too many goals this season. In fact, after nine competitive games so far, the English champions have yet to keep a single clean sheet. Mancini will hope that changes here, although his focus is sure to be on just getting the win. A draw could see Real Madrid out of sight, with a win at Ajax, while Dortmund would have a chance to put Manchester City to the sword in Germany.
Mancini will hope for Sergio Aguero to continue his goalscoring form, while there could be a case for starting Bosnian Edin Dzeko, given his prolific record against German defences from his time in the Bundesliga. At Wolfsburg, Dzeko was one of the most fearsome forwards in Germany and, having started on the bench for the Citizens at the weekend, should be fresh for this.
Adapting to Europe
Borussia Dortmund may have been an all-conquering force in the Bundesliga over the last two years, but their form in Europe has been another story altogether. Jurgen Klopp’s men lost all three of their away games in last season’s group stage and finished bottom of their group, below even Greek side Olympiacos. Dortmund will hope there is no repeat this year, but the nerves have already begun to show.
In the club’s opening group game, at home to Ajax, a lacklustre performance was on display for much of the night, until they started pushing in the second half. It took a late, late goal from Robert Lewandowski to seal the win; Mats Hummels had missed a penalty earlier in the second half. In the Bundesliga, Dortmund have found themselves chasing Bayern Munich, with the Bavarians’ perfect start too much for the Ruhr giants to live with. Fighting on two fronts will prove difficult.
And the pressure may be getting to Klopp, with him being fined €6,000 for raging against the referee in Dortmund’s 3-3 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt recently.
Dortmund did warm up for this match by thrashing Borussia Monchengladbach 5-0 at the weekend however and Klopp has the firepower to trouble a Manchester City defence that has looked anything but tight this season.
Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal (23/09; Premier League)
Manchester City 2-4 Aston Villa [AET] (25/09; League Cup)
Fulham 1-2 Manchester City (29/09; Premier League)
Hamburg 3-2 Borussia Dortmund (22/09; Bundesliga)
Eintracht Frankfurt 3-3 Borussia Dortmund (25/09; Bundesliga)
Borussia Dortmund 5-0 Borussia M’Gladbach (29/09; Bundesliga)
Manchester City: Jack Rodwell; Maicon (doubt); Micah Richards (doubt)
Borussia Dortmund: Mario Gotze (doubt); Patrick Owomoyela; Mustafa Amini
Players to watch
Manchester City – Yaya Toure: Controlling the midfield will be crucial for Manchester City to get their own game going and prevent Dortmund from having too much of the ball. Toure should be able to dominate in the engine room and also make dangerous runs forward to trouble the German backline.
Borussia Dortmund – Robert Lewandowski: The Poland striker saved Dortmund’s skin in their opening match, grabbing the three points for his team against Ajax. Lewandowski knows where the goal is and, with Manchester City’s defence looking likely to give him chances, needs to covert what opportunities he does get.
Manchester City are the more desperate of the two teams for the win, given their opening day loss, while Dortmund would surely settle for a draw. This match pits two of Europe’s new powers, who are struggling to get to grips with Champions League football, against each other. An entertaining home win awaits. Manchester City 3-2 Borussia Dortmund.
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