Man City go into the final match of their Champions League group away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday (7.45pm GMT, live on Sky Sports) knowing that victory is required if they are to at least salvage a Europa League place from an otherwise best-forgotten campaign.
City’s unlikely hopes of reaching the knockout stages were ended by a 1-1 draw at home to Real Madrid in the penultimate round of fixtures, a result that left them bottom of Group D with just three points from five matches.
Dortmund lead the group on 11 points, with Real Madrid’s eight points seeing them safely through as runners up. City are just one point behind third placed Ajax, but the Dutch side have a superior head-to-head record, necessitating victory in Germany if City wish to keep their continental campaign alive in the Europa League.
Roberto Mancini’s men have been badly exposed during this year’s Champions League, outplayed by two far less expensively assembled teams in Ajax and Dortmund. These are two teams whose collective play and attacking verve were a joy to witness. Just two points from the four fixtures against those teams effectively sealed their fate.
City warmed up for this match with a 1-1 draw at home to Everton on Saturday, their third draw in their last four matches in all competitions. Up next is the Manchester derby against a United side who now lead the Citizens by three points at the top of the Premier League table.
With such an important fixture coming up, it is highly probable that Mancini will rest a few first team regulars against Dortmund, although how many he leaves out is likely to be determined by one simple question: how badly does he and City really want a Europa League campaign?
City defeated Porto before falling to Sporting Lisbon at the round of 16 phase of last year’s competition after being parachuted in from the Champions League. Although, on paper, Mancini has a squad capable of challenging domestically and in Europe it is difficult to see him treating the Europa League with the seriousness it deserves.
Even if Man City do go all out for the victory here, they will still meet stern opposition from a Dortmund side who have lost just twice in their last 29 home matches in all competitions. The Germans have little to play for having already secured top spot in the group, but with the Signal-Iduna Park crowd behind them can be expected to go for the win regardless.
Coach Jurgen Klopp has not repeated the mistake he made during the group stage of last year’s Champions League, in which he sacrificed his team’s identity in favour of an approach he felt was more befitting of European competition. This year, Dortmund have played their own high-energy game and have reaped the rewards, going undefeated to date.
Dortmund defeated Real Madrid at home and Ajax home and away in swashbuckling style and were also highly impressive in securing draws away to City and Madrid.
They have scored in all five of their matches to date and in Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski have three superb attacking players. When that trio are in league with the right-sided combination play of Jaukb Blaszczykowski and Lukasz Piszczek, this team is capable of breaking down even the most resolute of defences.
Their domestic form has suffered a little, with the two-time reigning champions 11 points behind leaders Bayern Munich following the 1-1 draw between the sides on Saturday. With a three-month break until the next Champions League action they will be hopeful of getting themselves back into the Bundesliga title race.
Borussia Dortmund v Man City Betting Tips
City have to win this if they want to have any chance of qualifying for the Europa League. Despite Mancini’s recent comments to the contrary, it is questionable whether they will have the necessary motivation to get all three points against a well-supported Dortmund side with an excellent home record.
It will not do City much good, but this preview’s conclusion is that the draw is the most likely result. These are our betting tips:
- Bet on the draw @ 3/1 with BetVictor.
- Dortmund have scored in all of their Champions League matches to date and have only failed to score once in 24 matches in all competitions this season. City are obliged to attack and have enough offensive talent to suggest that they, too, will get on the scoresheet. Therefore, bet on both teams to score @ best odds of 4/7 with Bet365.