UEFA Champions League Group D preview: Dortmund, Real in control
By Football News
Both Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid can ensure their qualification for the Champions League knockout stage with wins on Wednesday.
The German and Spanish champions have control of the so called 'group of death' and will progress to the last 16 with wins over Ajax and Manchester City respectively.
For Manchester City, their second Champions League campaign has been nothing short of a disaster, with two points accrued from four games in Group D making qualification for the knockout stage a near impossibility.
City thrashed Aston Villa 5-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday but Real Madrid will be a far more dangerous proposition for Roberto Mancini's side.
Already, Mancini appears to have turned his attentions to third place in the group and Europa League qualification, a competition he may feel he needs to win to keep his job.
"We don't have any chance to go through to the next stage but, like goalkeepers, football is strange," Mancini declared this week.
"We have two games and we want to be in the Europa League.
"Maybe when you play in February, March, April it can be a problem but if you can reach the final, the Europa League is an important trophy."
Striker Mario Balotelli may miss out again with a back injury but City should at least take some new-found confidence to Etihad Stadium on Tuesday after the Villa win.
Anything but victory over Real will signal the end of City's aspirations in the competition for another season, leaving them scrapping for third spot and a route into UEFA's second-tier tournament.
Like City, Real go into the match in good form having dispatched Athletic Bilbao 5-1 in Liga action on Saturday.
Regardless of the result in City's match against Real, Dortmund will top the group if they defeat Ajax in Amsterdam.
Juergen Klopp's have been superb in the Champions League this season but have struggled to maintain their recent dominance of the Bundesliga, although they comfortably brushed aside Greuther Fuerth 3-1 last time out.
Ajax meanwhile warmed up for the key clash with a 2-0 win at home to lowly VVV Venlo.