Manchester City host German champions Borussia Dortmund for Matchday Two of the UEFA Champions League group stages. Roberto Mancini's side suffered a narrow 2-3 defeat to Spanish champions Real Madrid in the first game, while Dortmund beat Dutch champions Ajax 1-0 at home.
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Group D of the Champions League has lived up to expectations so far. The proverbial "group of death" features four domestic champions in Real Madrid, City, Dortmund and Ajax.
City were on course for a memorable 2-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first round of matches, before Jose Mourinho's side stepped up the pressure and scored twice in the final ten minutes, to win 3-2. Meanwhile, Dortmund dominated Ajax at the Signal Iduna Park but needed Robert Lewandowski to net in the 87th minute to claim all three points.
The English champions have had a stuttering start to the defence of their league title and after six games have 12 points... four behind early leaders Chelsea. The Citizens have drifted between being impressive (as they were for long periods of the second half against Madrid) and disappointing (as they were against Arsenal in the league). Mancini has admitted to concerns over defensive stability and the club's vulnerability to set piece situations and late goals could see them lose matches and points at inopportune moments, unless it is rectified.
However, Mancini will be pleased to note the drive and determination to succeed seems as strong as it was last year. The 2-1 comeback win against Fulham over the weekend should have boosted morale and self-belief ahead of this game.
Dortmund, meanwhile, are in excellent form coming into this game. Jurgen Klopp's side were in complete control against Ajax in the first game and concerns over not putting chances away were dismissed with a comprehensive 5-0 defeat of Borussia Monchengladbach in a league game over the weekend.
The German champions do have their own concerns though. Reports are increasingly linking leading scorer Lewandowski with a move to the Premier League and the latest suggest United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will be watching the game at the Etihad and monitoring the 24 year old Polish international's progress.
- Last Five (most recent first) - W L D L D
- Last Result - Fulham 1- 2 Manchester City
- Last Five (most recent first) - W D L W W
- Last Result - Borussia Dortmund 5 - 0 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Manchester City: The club will be without Brazilian right back Maicon, who suffered a knee injury against Madrid. In addition, defender Micah Richards is also unavailable. There are no further injuries or suspensions. Former Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell has returned from injury but is unlikely to be risked for this game, given the club's strength in depth in the centre of the park.
Mancini is likely to field the same side that came back strongly to beat Fulham over the weekend, meaning new signing Matija Nastasic will continue to play, as will Frenchman Gael Clichy, ahead of Aleksandar Kolarov and Joleon Lescott. Gareth Barry, Javi Garcia and Yaya Toure will anchor the midfield, with the Argentinean pair of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero joined up front by Spain's David Silva.
Probable Line-Up: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Garcia, Barry, Toure; Silva, Aguero, Tevez
Borussia Dortmund: Meanwhile, Dortmund could restore Lewandowski to the starting line-up but considering the side cruised to a 5-0 win without him, the Pole may have to be content with a place on the bench for this one. There are no further concerns for Klopp, meaning Roman Weidenfeller in goal is likely to be shielded by a front four including German internationals Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer. Further up the field Sebastian Kehl will use his experience to patrol the midfield, probably with İlkay Gündoğan for company and the attacking quarter of Jakub Błaszczykowski, Mario Gotze, Marcus Reus and Lewandowski will hunt for goals.
Probable Line-Up: Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer; Kehl, Gundogan; Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus; Lewandowski