[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund will face English Premier League winner Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday in a compelling game the host simply can't afford to lose ...
TV: Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund (Wednesday 2:45 pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel)
The stakes are already high in Group D, where a loss at home by Manchester City would put it six points behind Borussia Dortmund, with only four games to play. The final moments of opening day showed just how small the margin for error might prove in this talented group.
With five minutes to play in both games, Manchester City led Real Madrid 2-1 at the Bernabeu in Spain, while Ajax and Borussia Dortmund were scoreless in Germany. Five minutes later, after a tying goal from Karim Benzema and a winner from Robert Lewandoski in the 87th minute and one three minutes later by Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid had beaten City 3-2 and Dortmund won 1-0. Man City went from top of the group, to three points behind both Madrid and Dortmund, in a matter of moments.
Dortmund had its 31-game Bundesliga unbeaten streak snapped against Hamburg SV after the win over Ajax, followed by a 3-3 tie at Frankfurt, but BVB brushed aside Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, 5-0. Man City is still unbeaten in the EPL after Saturday’s 2-1 comeback at Fulham, but it was City’s first victory in any competition since beating QPR on Sept. 1.
Coach Roberto Mancini’s team had the fewest goals allowed in the EPL last year, but City has just one shutout in nine competitive matches this season, but Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko have been good up front. Dortmund’s defense has been something of a concern, Coach Jurgen Klopp is also adjusting to life after Shinji Kagawa, now at Old Trafford, while trying keep up with red-hot Bayern Munich and easing in Mario Goetze, who’s back from injury.
All the pressure in this game is on Manchester City, Dortmund will come in loose, as a tie would keep the visitor three points up, and a loss by the home team would be disastrous.
Players to Watch
(BVB) Marco Reus, only 23, is already the reigning German Player of the Year and has four goals in six league games after his summer transfer back to Dortmund, where he was born and played youth soccer. Though still unselfish, he looks to score more than Kagawa, and has better size.
(Man City) Yaya Toure is one of those freakish combinations of size and skill that’s impossible to replicate, until you meet the real thing. City’s most dangerous moments in Madrid came when the nearly 6-foot-4 Ivorian went on one of his powerful runs, leaving defenders in his wake, the last of which set up the opening goal. Suffice it to say Dortmund has never seen anyone like Yaya.
Notes: Neither team advanced out of group play last year. ... Dortmund lost all three road games in last year’s UCL. … Real Madrid plays at Ajax on Wednesday. They’ve won a combined to win 13 European Cup. Dortmund has one, won in 1997. Man City is the only team in Group D that has never won Europe’s biggest club prize.