The pressure is on Manchester City tonight if they are to avoid the prospect of another exit at the group stages of the Champions League. After their heartbreaking defeat in Madrid, a game which they lead until the very closing stages, another defeat would leave City with a tall order to get out of the group.
City were knocked out of the competition at this stage last season, after being pipped to second place by Napoli despite claiming ten points along the way. This time there will be less sympathy if City fail to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, this despite being drawn in the so called “group of death”.
With a group titled as such, there is inevitably no straightforward game, and tonight’s game pitches the champions of England against the champions of Gemany, a mouth watering prospect which should make for essential viewing. Borussia Dortmund have moved ahead of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga pecking order of late and can now be considered as Germany’s number one team. After retaining the Bundesliga for a second straight season in May, they added the German Cup to the list of their achievements and this was the first time Dortmund had ever won the double. Now Jurgen Klopp’s side are looking to transfer their domestic successes onto the European stage and will view tonight’s game as a key component in their plans.
Dortmund won’t fear a trip to the Etihad, and enter the match in bullish mood after thrashing Borussia Monchengladbach 5-0 at the weekend. Unlike many sides in Europe, they won’t simply turn up, sit back and try to nick a goal on the break. Instead, they will look to take the game to Man City from the very off, and have the players who are fully capable of exposing City’s fragile defence.
Robert Lewandowski is the striker who City will be most aware of following his exploits in the Euros, which came on the back of a fantastic domestic season. He was rested at the weekend so should be full of energy tonight. However, the likes of Marco Reus and Jakub Blaszczykowski on the wings will be equally a threat and City will have to keep a strong defensive unit if they are to limit Dortmund as an attacking force.
Like City, Dortmund too have had their own defensive issues this season, especially on the road, so expect there to be goals. With Man City at home, they will inevitably begin as favourites, but this is far from a foregone conclusion, and it should make for great viewing from a neutral perspective.