Right now, Manchester City have one point out of their first two matches in the Champions League group of death. The match they drew, against Dortmund, should have ended in a humiliating home defeat if it wasn’t for Joe Hart. The rare thing about the post-match interviews was having Roberto Mancini admit his team was completely outclassed.
Five months ago, after Dortmund won the German double, we published a post about how great it would be seeing Dortmund in their second season in the Champions League. How great it might be to see a team that plays a bit differently than everyone else in Europe clash with the best in the continent. Manchester City aren’t the best, only the number one team in England, and they could hardly breathe for most of the match under immense Dortmund pressure. Again, if it wasn’t for Joe Hart, in a nothing less than legendary performance at goal, this might have been a historic win for Dortmund.
Mancini himself was very honest and realistic with what happened on the pitch in the previous 90 minutes – Dortmund played better than us and at the moment are a better team than us. We have to fight hard for every ball, we have to fight and to run. We have good players, but Borussia are more experienced than us. Joe saved us. He did very very well. They were unlucky.
I don’t know what kind of experience Mancini is talking about, possibly referring to the fact that as a unit, Dortmund might be a bit more in sync than his team, which is seeing changes in the lineup every three-four days, as expected with such a huge and deep squad. One thing that surprised in both his and Joe Hart comments was saying that they’re not to sure City even deserved a penalty kick. They didn’t get a chance to see the TV footage when they were asked, because it was a 100% penalty.
They were getting chances when it was three at the back, four at the back, ten at the back. We’ve got to be happy with a point. It could have been 10-10, their keeper was fantastic and both sides had a lot of chances. Dortmund were different class tonight. I hope it wasn’t a wasted effort, I think this shows what a tough group we’re in. But Mario’s never going to miss the penalty. We pushed hard, we needed a point, we’ve come out alive and the group is still alive for us.
There’s something about the way Dortmund play, putting aside the amazing combination of Marco Reus and Mario Gotze, which leaves teams in shock, almost paralyzed. Incredible fitness and discipline, constant pressure for almost 90 minutes up and down the pitch. Mancini had no answers. Just hoping that his players, completely out of sorts in the second half, would come up with something, which they did, scrambling for something in the Dortmund box.
This doesn’t bode well for City’s chances when they visit Germany and for their chances in making it out of this group. It leaves us very excited about the prospect of two consecutive matches between Dortmund and Real Madrid, and actually see just how good Dortmund are when they face the upper echelon of European football.