Manchester City will fight for Europa League place, insists Roberto Mancini

City manager targets victory over Dortmund despite disruption threat to title challenge

Dortmund

As the top and bottom teams in Group D of the Champions League meet here tonight, their respective managers are insisting both will be treating an almost dead tie with the utmost seriousness. Borussia Dortmund are already guaranteed finishing top and have just played "the German clasico" against Bayern Munich, emerging from the 1-1 draw with several knocks and strains. Manchester City have their own biggest match of the season, at home to Manchester United, in five days' time and Roberto Mancini knows that even moving up from fourth to third in the group to earn the dubious prize of a Europa League place is likely to diminish the prospect of retaining the Premier League title – surely the greater priority.

On the other hand, staying bottom, which will happen if City fail to win, will worsen their already poor Uefa ranking, ensuring that next season there is every chance of being drawn in a section as daunting as the group of four champions that comes to a conclusion this evening.

Mancini's take on it all last night was: "It could be difficult in the Europa League because you play on Thursdays and don't have much time to recover for the Premier League. But we must try to play in the Europa League and we will do our best. We have brought all the players who are available and they'll do everything to win the game. But Borussia will be difficult because they are one of the best teams in Europe." David Silva has a hamstring injury and may miss the derby on Sunday as well and Yaya Toure is suspended tonight.

Mancini said that if City do make the Europa League he would effectively field two teams, one in Europe and one in the Premier League. If the City team held 1-1 by Everton on Saturday is to be shaken up, Joleon Lescott, the injured Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko may all drop out. Dzeko was nevertheless put up for interview last night, when he said of the club he played against while at Wolfsburg: "They've shown in the Champions League that they are a fantastic team. But if it's possible to win and play in the Europa League that will be good for us."

City's campaign was clearly under threat once a late defeat away to Real Madrid in the opening game was followed by the fortunate 1-1 draw at home to Dortmund. They only equalised with Mario Balotelli's controversial last-minute penalty as Mancini admitted: "Joe Hart saved us from an incredible defeat,". Hart himself added: "I thought Dortmund were different class." The German side went on to prove it by taking four points from Real, then winning 4-1 at Ajax (where City lost 3-1) to win the group with a game in hand.

They can now afford to rest players like Neven Subotic and Sven Bender, who both suffered minor strains against Bayern, as well as Robert Lewandowski, the Bundesliga's joint leading scorer. Lewandowski is allegedly interesting United, but Dortmund's coach Jürgen Klopp said last night: "Manchester United are one of many teams showing interest in him but I have no worries. His contract is with us. The time when there were big rich English clubs coming here to try to lure our best players away from Germany, thank God, that time is over."

The other player City would hope to see left out is Mario Götze, who will need a fitness test today. The 20 year-old midfielder is developing into such a talent that Kicker magazine was asking yesterday whether he is most like Lionel Messi, Xavi or Zinedine Zidane.

Even with a win, City would still finish bottom if Ajax were to pull off an upset in Madrid. But first things first; a belated first win of another disappointing Champions League campaign amid the intense atmosphere of the Signal Iduna Park stadium will be difficult enough for Mancini's side to achieve.

Kick-off Tonight, 7.45pm, Westfalenstadion.

TV Sky Sports 2. Referee M Mazic (Serb).

Odds: Dortmund 6-5, Draw 11-4, Man City 2-1.

Suspended Y Touré (Man City).

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law