A lot of people would say Robert Lewandoski is Borussia Dortmund’s best and only really world-class striker, but after a dominant display from Julian Schieber and Marco Reus, it is easy to see why the German side are doing so well. The pair were in top form on Tuesday night, and Reus almost netted a beauty from the edge of the box in the first half before being substituted at the interval for Jakub Blaszczykowski. In a dull first 45 minutes, Reus looked the most likely to break the deadlock and it’s not just against Manchester City he’s impressed. His brief time on the international stage has also been relatively impressive, scoring a cracking strike against Greece at Euro 2012, as well as scoring one of the goals of the Champions League so far against Real Madrid. But it was Schieber who tapped home the game’s only goal with a back-post finish after great work from Blaszczykowski midway through the second period, which eventually ended City’s miserable European campaign.
City have scored more goals from outside the box than any other side in the Premier League this season. Yet in Europe, they seem frightened to shoot from distance. Their tippy-tappy footwork around the area seems showed the Citizens were nervous against the Bundesliga champions, and it was similar against Real Madrid and Ajax. In the first half, Edin Dzeko had a few chances in the first period but opted to cross or dwell on the ball, and Carlos Tévez was another guilty party. Neither Samir Nasir nor Gareth Barry let fly from range once on the night, and even with the introduction of Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli, the Premier League holders never really looked like scoring.
There are few City players who needed to impress Roberto Mancini more than Scott Sinclair did on Tuesday. The summer signing from Swansea was awarded a rare start as the Blues manager rested a few big names ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby. But the former Chelsea winger endured a nightmare, and he looks as if he has lost all confidence and a lot of his ability. in the second half, a through ball ended up in Roman Weidenfeller’s arms because Sinclair did not take a chance on the pass. Also in the first half, the Team GB star surrenedered a great chance to sprint in behind the Dortmund backline or release Tévez, with City ending with a throw. It was a big chance for the youngster and he really did not take it.
In a group containing cash-rich City, Spanish giants Real Madrid and footballing masters Ajax, it was Borussia Dortmund who shone. Taking 14 points from six games is a great feat for any side in any Champions League group. But for the Bundesliga Champions, to do it in such a difficult quartet is remarkable. They have twice dominated City like no other side in the Mancini era, as well as beating Madrid and thrashing Ajax in Amsterdam. Mats Hummels was solid at the back, while Weidenfeller looked at east throughout and the front two of Reus and Schieber both played well. They have strength in depth as shown by the fact that Lewandoski started the game on the bench, as did Blaszczykowski . Recording over 33 shots in 180 minutes against City also goes to show how good Joe Hart has been for the English side. Without him this European campaign may have been even more embarrassing for Mancini’s men.
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