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Borussia Dortmund 3 Malaga 2 (agg 3-2) – match report

Dortmund 3 Malaga 2 (agg 3-2): Klopp's side complete stunning comeback with injury- time double

PUBLISHED:

20:41 GMT, 9 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 10 April 2013

Borussia Dortmund came back from the dead to book their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League with a quite unbelievable victory over Malaga at Signal Iduna Park.

The German side's run in the competition appeared to be as good as over after Eliseu's strike in the 82nd minute made it 2-1 to Malaga and left the hosts needing two goals to progress after last week's first leg ended goalless.

Marco Reus breathed life into Jurgen Klopp's side with a close-range finish in the first minute of stoppage time but there was even greater drama to come as Dortmund pressed on in search of a third goal, which duly arrived with seconds remaining as Felipe Santana scrambled home.

Back from the brink: Borussia Dortmund completed a stunning comeback with two goals in injury time

Back from the brink: Borussia Dortmund completed a stunning comeback with two goals in injury time

Jubilation: Dortmund players celebrate their remarkable win

Jubilation: Dortmund players celebrate their remarkable win

Bundle: The German side looked dead and buried when Eliseu put Malaga 2-1 ahead with eight minutes left

Bundle: The German side looked dead and buried when Eliseu put Malaga 2-1 ahead with eight minutes left

Gutted: Malaga's Antunes shows his dejection as Dortmund fans celebrate

Gutted: Malaga's Antunes shows his dejection as Dortmund fans celebrate

Hero: Winning goalscorer Felipe Santana

Hero: Winning goalscorer Felipe Santana

Give me a hug! Jurgen Klopp and Santana

Give me a hug! Jurgen Klopp and Santana

Stunning: Dortmund fans unveiled this spectacular banner ahead of kick off

Stunning: Dortmund fans unveiled this spectacular banner ahead of kick off

Magnificent: The message on the banner read: 'On the trail of the lost cup'

Magnificent: The message on the banner read: 'On the trail of the lost cup'

MATCH FACTS

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Felipe Santana, Schmelzer, Gundogan (Hummels 86), Bender (Sahin 72), Blaszcykowski (Schieber 72), Gotze, Reus,
Lewandowski. Subs Not Used: Langerak, Kehl, Leitner, Grosskreutz.

Booked: Bender, Schmelzer.

Goals: Lewandowski 40, Felipe Santana 90, Reus 90.

Malaga: Willy, Jesus Gamez, Demichelis, Sergio Sanchez, Antunes, Joaquin (Francisco Portillo 87), Toulalan, Camacho, Duda (Eliseu 74), Isco, Julio Baptista (Santa Cruz 83). Subs Not Used: Kameni, Lugano, Saviola, Piazon.

Booked: Jesus Gamez, Toulalan.

Goals: Joaquin 25, Eliseu 82.

Att: 65,000

Ref: Craig Thomson (Scotland).

Joaquin's 25th-minute opener for
Manuel Pellegrini's visitors was cancelled out by Robert Lewandowski's
superbly crafted goal five minutes before the break, but that was mere
prelude to the drama – and acrimony – that was to come after the break.

Both Eliseu's strike for Malaga and
Santana's third for Dortmund should both have been ruled out for
offside, as the officiating team led by Scotland's Craig Thomson ensured
this memorable contest would also be tainted by controversy.

Dortmund's players and fans will
probably not lose too much sleep over the shortcomings of the officials,
with the frenzied delight of the home contingent starkly contrasted by
Malaga's crestfallen players, who as the final whistle blew clearly were
struggling to comprehend how they had been turned over.

A nervy opening was perhaps
understandable with so much riding on the result, and it took until the
16th minute for the first effort on goal to arrive as Lewandowski sent a
chipped effort sailing over the bar.

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany

After failing to produce a shot on
target in the first quarter of the match, Malaga went ahead courtesy of
their first meaningful attack.

Julio Baptista started the move with a
pass into Joaquin, who exchanged passes with Isco before selling his
marker a dummy and sending a low finish into the left corner.

Reus saw a shot charged down in the
37th minute as Dortmund searched for a way back, but the home fans did
not have much longer to wait for the breakthrough as the hosts conjured a
goal of real class five minutes before the break.

Away goals advantage: Joaquin's strike left Dortmund needing to score twice to advance

Away goals advantage: Joaquin's strike left Dortmund needing to score twice to advance

Mario Gotze's incisive forward pass
was backheeled beyond the Malaga backline by Reus into the path of
Lewandowski, who expertly dinked the ball over the sprawling Willy
Caballero before tucking the ball home under pressure from Jesus Gamez.

The second half began with a bang with both sides going close to adding to the scoring inside three minutes.

First Lewandowski was afforded time to
take aim from the edge of the area but Caballero got down to save,
while two minutes later Roman Weidenfeller produced a fine reflex stop
to deflect away Joaquin's downward header.

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Leading from the front: Lewandowski celebrates his goal at Signal Iduna Park

Leading from the front: Lewandowski celebrates his goal at Signal Iduna Park

The hosts were given a let-off when
Marcel Schmelzer appeared to raise his hands to the face of Gamez amid a
tussle by the touchline, but rather inexplicably it was the Malaga man
who went into the referee's book.

The home fans were on their feet in
the 75th minute ready to acclaim a goal as the unmarked Reus looked to
turn home a low centre from six yards but Caballero's trailing leg was
in the right place as the Malaga number one made a wonderful save.

Caballero was again the hero for the
visitors in the 79th minute as Gotze was played clean through but the
goalkeeper flicked out a leg to deflect the ball inches wide of the
post.

Caballero's heroics looked set to be
the cornerstone of a famous win when three minute later Malaga went 2-1
up as Baptista's goalbound shot was turned home by Eliseu from almost on
the goalline, despite the substitute having strayed offside.

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

No way back Eliseu left the German side needing to score two more goals in the closing minutes

The match appeared to be destined to
end in Malaga's favour as added time arrived, but all that changed when
Dortmund were awarded a free-kick 40 yards from goal.

Caballero was helpless to deny
Dortmund yet again as woeful defending from the set-piece saw the ball
break to Reus to fire in from close range.

The hosts still needed a goal to progress to the last four, and incredibly it arrived in the third minute of added time.

The officials failed to spot three
Dortmund players in offside positions when the ball was launched into
the area, but when the ball broke to Santana – also in an offside
position on the goal-line – he had no hesitation in blasting home to
trigger scenes of disbelieving delight at Signal Iduna Park.

Turnaround: Santana bundled home a winner from close range in injury time for Dortmund

Turnaround: Santana bundled home a winner from close range in injury time for Dortmund

Dubious: Santana was arguably offside when he scored from less than one yard

Dubious: Santana was arguably offside when he scored from less than one yard

Dortmund

Delight: Santana runs off in celebration of his dramatic winner

Delight: Santana runs off in celebration of his dramatic winner

Pitch invasion: Dortmund head coach Klopp leaps with delight at the final whistle

Pitch invasion: Dortmund head coach Klopp leaps with delight at the final whistle

Joy: Santana is congratulated by Dortmund players and head coach Klopp

Joy: Santana is congratulated by Dortmund players and head coach Klopp

PS – Sorry Jurgen, your comeback doesn't beat the 1999 final

Dortmund's stunning comeback was thrilling, but it can't hold a flame to the famous night in Barcelona when Manchester United yanked the Champions League trophy out of Bayern Munich's hands at the death.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side were facing defeat in the face after Mario Basler's sixth-minute free-kick kept the sides apart until the final moments, when Teddy Sheringham swept home in the 91st minute followed two minutes later by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

History boys: Manchester United's triumph over Bayern Munich cannot be beaten for late drama

History boys: Manchester United's triumph over Bayern Munich cannot be beaten for late drama

History boys: Manchester United's triumph over Bayern Munich cannot be beaten for late drama

History boys: Manchester United's triumph over Bayern Munich cannot be beaten for late drama

History boys: Manchester United's triumph over Bayern Munich cannot be beaten for late drama

Dortmund 3 Malaga 2 (agg 3-2) – match report

Dortmund 3 Malaga 2 (agg 3-2): Klopp's side complete stunning comeback with injury- time double

PUBLISHED:

20:41 GMT, 9 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 9 April 2013

Borussia Dortmund scored two goals in injury-time to complete a stunning 3-2 comeback win against Malaga and advance to the Champions League semi-finals.

Joaquin put the visitors ahead in the 25th minute but Polish striker Robert Lewandowski brought the Germans level five minutes before the break.

Jurgen Klopp's side threw everything they had at the Spanish side in an attempt to score a second goal that would sent them through.

But Dortmund left themselves exposed at the back and Eliseu looked to have sent Malaga into the semi-finals when he turned the ball home to put his team 2-1 ahead with eight minutes to play.

However, Marco Reus and Felipe Santana both scored in injury time as Jurgen Klopp's men pulled off an incredible turnaround and book their place in the last four.

More to follow

Back from the brink: Borussia Dortmund completed a stunning comeback with two goals in injury time

Back from the brink: Borussia Dortmund completed a stunning comeback with two goals in injury time

MATCH FACTS

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Felipe Santana, Schmelzer, Gundogan (Hummels 86), Bender (Sahin 72), Blaszcykowski (Schieber 72), Gotze, Reus,
Lewandowski.

Subs Not Used: Langerak, Kehl, Leitner, Grosskreutz.

Booked: Bender, Schmelzer.

Goals: Lewandowski 40, Felipe Santana 90, Reus 90.

Malaga: Willy, Jesus Gamez, Demichelis, Sergio Sanchez, Antunes, Joaquin (Francisco Portillo 87), Toulalan, Camacho, Duda (Eliseu 74), Isco, Julio Baptista (Santa Cruz 83).

Subs Not Used: Kameni, Lugano, Saviola, Piazon.

Booked: Jesus Gamez, Toulalan.

Goals: Joaquin 25, Eliseu 82.

Att: 65,000

Ref: Craig Thomson (Scotland).

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany


Away goals advantage: Joaquin's strike left Dortmund needing to score twice to advance

Away goals advantage: Joaquin's strike left Dortmund needing to score twice to advance

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Leading from the front: Lewandowski celebrates his goal at Signal Iduna Park

Leading from the front: Lewandowski celebrates his goal at Signal Iduna Park

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

No way back Eliseu left the German side needing to score two more goals in the closing minutes

No way back Eliseu left the German side needing to score two more goals in the closing minutes

Turnaround: Felipe Santana bundled home a winner from close range in injury time for Dortmund

Turnaround: Felipe Santana bundled home a winner from close range in injury time for Dortmund

Dubious: Santana was arguably offside when he scored from less than one yard

Dubious: Santana was arguably offside when he scored from less than one yard

Dortmund

Delight: Santana runs off in celebration of his dramatic winner

Delight: Santana runs off in celebration of his dramatic winner

Pitch invasion: Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp leaps with delight at the final whistle

Pitch invasion: Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp leaps with delight at the final whistle

Joy: Santana is congratulated by Dortmund players and head coach Klopp

Joy: Santana is congratulated by Dortmund players and head coach Klopp

Malaga 0 Borussia Dortmund 0: Match report

Malaga 0 Borussia Dortmund 0: Stalemate in Spain as Gotze rues missed chances

PUBLISHED:

20:39 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:58 GMT, 3 April 2013

Borussia Dortmund wasted a host of chances to take a healthy advantage into the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Malaga tonight.

Mario Gotze was the main culprit, spurning three golden openings, as the visitors failed to find a way past the impressive Willy Caballero at La Rosaleda.

The away draw still leaves Jurgen Klopp's side in a strong position ahead of the home leg, but the boss will know the tie could have been all but wrapped up already.

Getting stuck: Felipe Santana of Dortmund challenges for the ball with Isco

Getting stuck: Felipe Santana of Dortmund challenges for the ball with Isco

Match Facts:

Malaga: Willy, Jesus Gamez, Demichelis, Weligton, Antunes, Toulalan, Iturra, Joaquin, Saviola, Isco, Julio Baptista.

Subs: Kameni, Lugano, Camacho, Duda, Sergio Sanchez, Santa Cruz, Francisco Portillo.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Felipe Santana, Schmelzer, Gundogan, Kehl, Reus, Gotze, Grosskreutz, Lewandowski.

Subs: Langerak, Bender, Leitner, Sahin, Kirch, Schieber, Bittencourt.

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sigtuna)

Instead Malaga, who, for all their opponents' dominance, still caused Dortmund the odd nervy moment, will travel to the Westfalenstadion still in with a shout of the last four.

Malaga had the first chance when Javier Saviola ran onto a clipped pass down the right of the area, got to the byline and cut inside, only to opt to go for the near post rather than the far and dragged his shot wide.

But it did not take long for Dortmund's attacking triumvirate of Robert Lewandowski, Gotze and Marco Reus to start exerting their influence as Dortmund started to open their hosts up almost at will.

Gotze ran clear on to a Lewandowski header as the Malaga backline appealed in vain for offside, but his shot lacked power and Caballero dived to make a one-handed save.

Battle for the ball: Marcel Schmelzer challenges for the ball with Joaqun of Malaga

Battle for the ball: Marcel Schmelzer challenges for the ball with Joaqun of Malaga

Over he goes: Schmelzer challenges for the ball with Joaquin

Over he goes: Schmelzer challenges for the ball with Joaquin

The Germany international then got in one-on-one down the right of the area, but Caballero was again equal to his side-foot shot.

Reus then brought another save out of the keeper after neat link-up play and a low shot from the edge of the area.

The young trio were causing Malaga all sorts of problems, with only the killer finish lacking.

The hosts showed they could still be a threat when Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller had to be quick off his line to get to the ball ahead of Saviola.

Their defence, though, continued to live dangerously and Weligton was booked for pulling back Lewandowski right on the edge of the area, Reus curling the resulting free-kick wide.

But Malaga ended the half in the ascendancy.

Weidenfeller, under no pressure, spilled a Joaquin cross and Felipe Santana go to scramble the ball away to spare his team-mate's blushes.

But the keeper redeemed himself with a fine save to keep out a Weligton header from a Joaquin corner.

Lewandowski fluffed another golden Dortmund chance minutes after the break, skewing his shot horribly wide when Gotze's cut-back found him in plenty of space in front of goal.

Gotze then fired wide of the far post after racing on to a measured pass down the right as another opportunity came and went for the Germans.

At the other end, Isco drilled effort was parried well by Weidenfeller, but it was Dortmund who left the pitch at full-time with a feeling of what might have been.

Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: match report

Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: Hummels grabs late leveller for Germans

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 13 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 13 February 2013

Mats Hummels headed home a late equaliser to giver Borussia Dortmund the advantage in their last-16 clash with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

Douglas Costa looked to have given the home side a narrow lead with a well-taken goal in the second half before Hummels nodded in Marcel Schmelzer's corner.

Shakhtar took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Darijo Srna whipped home a free kick from 25 yards only for Robert Lewandowski to score a crucial away goal 10 minutes later.

More to follow…

Game on: Borussia Dortmund celebrate after Mats Hummel's header earned them a draw in Ukraine

Game on: Borussia Dortmund celebrate after Mats Hummel's header earned them a draw in Ukraine

Match facts

Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov, Srna, Rakitskiy, Chygrynskiy, Rat, Fernandinho, Hubschman, Alex Teixeira (Eduardo 83), Mkhitaryan, Taison (Douglas Costa 62),Luiz Adriano.

Subs Not Used: Kanibolotskiy, Stepanenko, Shevchuk, Devic, Ischenko.

Booked: Fernandinho.

Goals: Srna 31,Douglas Costa 68.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Felipe Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer, Kehl, Bender, Blaszczykowski (Leitner 80), Gotze, Reus (Schieber 90), Lewandowski.

Subs Not Used: Langerak, Subotic, Sahin, Bittencourt, Halstenberg.

Goals: Lewandowski 41, Hummels 87.

Att: 52,000

Ref: Howard Webb (England).

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

In front: Shakhtar celebrate after taking the lead against Borussia Dortmund in Ukraine

In front: Shakhtar celebrate after taking the lead against Borussia Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Crucial: Dortmund celebrate after grabbing a vital away goal against Shakhtar in the first leg

Crucial: Dortmund celebrate after grabbing a vital away goal against Shakhtar in the first leg

Cracker: Douglas Costa looked to have won the first leg for Shakhtar when he scored in the second half

Cracker: Douglas Costa looked to have won the first leg for Shakhtar when he scored in the second half

Advantage Shakhtar: Douglas Costa celebrates after giving his side the lead against Dortmund

Advantage Shakhtar: Douglas Costa celebrates after giving his side the lead against Dortmund

Robert Lewandowski set to sign for Manchester United

Man United set to add 18m Dortmund hotshot Lewandowski to their ranks on five-year deal

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UPDATED:

08:59 GMT, 27 December 2012


Goals galore: This mocked-up pic of Robert Lewandowski shows the Dortmund frontman in United colours

Goals galore: This mocked-up pic of Robert Lewandowski shows the Dortmund frontman in United colours

Robert Lewandowski will double his earnings as a Manchester United player after moving a step nearer landing his dream move to Old Trafford.

He is set to accept an offer of 20.5million in wages to join the Barclays Premier League side in the summer.

Borussia Dortmund have settled on an 18million fee for the Polish striker, who has long been pursued by Sir Alex Ferguson.

According to German newspaper Bild, the 24-year-old will sign a five-year contract at Old Trafford worth around 4.1m annually.

Sportsmail
has led the way with the transfer of Lewandowski to United, with our
exclusive story at the end of last month detailing how he had told
friends he would be leaving Dortmund.

The
striker’s contract with the club expires at the end of next season, and
it is believed he will double his wages with a move to the Premier
League.

Though he is widely acknowledged as Dortmund’s most potent attacking weapon, the Poland striker lags behind team-mates Marco Reus and Mario Goetze on the pay scale.

Fellow-forward Reus and attacking midfielder Goetze, another United target, both rake in 3.28m a year, while Lewandowski is on an annual salary of just over 2m.

Hotshot: The Polish forward is poised to sign for Man United

Hotshot: The Polish forward is poised to sign for Man United

All that is about to change, after a United initiative that seems certain to break Dortmund’s resolve over their prize asset.

General manager Hans-Joachim Watzke has consistently stated Dortmund have no intention of cashing in on him and will keep him for the remainder of his contract, even if it means losing him for nothing at the end of next season.

But his stance has been widely interpreted as a means of extracting the maximum amount from any buying club, after an acceptance that they will have to sell him in the summer.

Boost: Sir Alex Ferguson is on the verge of adding to his firepower

Boost: Sir Alex Ferguson is on the verge of adding to his firepower

United already have the best attack in the top-flight with 48 goals from 19 games but Ferguson, who watched Lewandowski when he played Manchester City at the Etihad earlier this season, wants the most potent strike force in Europe.

He believes pairing Lewandowski with Robin van Persie — and Wayne Rooney operating just behind — would give him that. The manager is also keen to re-united him with Shinji Kagawa, who formed a successful partnership before joining in the summer.

Lewandowski has scored 40 league goals in 83 games for the side and is in fearsome form, netting braces in each of his last three games for Dortmund.

He is a key reason they topped Real Madrid in the group stages of the Champions League.

Link up: Lewandowski could soon be lining up alongside Robin van Persie

Link up: Lewandowski could soon be lining up alongside Robin van Persie

Manchester City 1 Real Madrid 1 match report: Roberto Mancini"s men out of Champions League

Manchester City 1 Real Madrid 1: Aguero spot kick not enough to stop Mancini's men crashing out after early Benzema strike

|

UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 21 November 2012

Dortmund thrash Ajax

Elsewhere in Champions League Group D, Borussia Dortmund were impressive 4-1 winners at Ajax.

The German champions sealed their qualification to the knockout stages of the competition in style after racing into a three-goal lead by half-time.

Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski all hit the target, and the Poland striker completed the rout after the break.

Ryan Babel hit a consolation goal for the Dutch side.

To go out was bad enough, but it was a result from mainland Europe that put the misery of Manchester City’s second Champions League campaign into sharp relief.

Over in Amsterdam, Ajax had been soundly beaten 4-1 at home by Borussia Dortmund. That’s right, the same Ajax side who Manchester City had made look like world-beaters earlier in this campaign. Dortmund are a very good side, the champions of Germany, no less. But so are City, or at least we thought they were. Champions last season, unbeaten and top again in this, they are currently the best of what the Premier League has to offer.

Perhaps that is what makes their three points from 15 —with a dead rubber trip to Dortmund to come — so unsettling. Forget what it says about them; what does it say about us, our league, the one some conceitedly imagine still to be the best in the world Three teams in this group would dispute that. City earned a draw here with a decent second-half performance, but without doubt Jose Mourinho’s team made the mistake of easing off, feeling comfortable and confident having dominated the first half.

Early exit: Manchester City were dumped out of the Champions League after drawing with Real Madrid

Early exit: Manchester City were dumped out of the Champions League after drawing with Real Madrid

All to play for: City manager Roberto Mancini and assistant David Platt get animated on the touchline

Tough to watch: City manager Roberto Mancini and assistant David Platt get animated on the touchline

Match Facts

Man City: Hart, Maicon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov (Javi Garcia), Yaya Toure, Silva, Nasri (Tevez 60), Dzeko, Aguero (Milner 88)

Subs not used: Pantilimon, Lescott, Sinclair, Barry.

Goals: Aguero 74 (pen)

Booked: Maicon, Zabaleta, Nasri, Yaya Toure

Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Khedira, Alonso, Di Maria (Albiol 90), Modric (Callejon 68), Ronaldo, Benzema (Varane 74).

Subs not used: Adan, Kaka, Ozil, Nacho.

Goals: Benzema 10

Booked: Ramos, Alonso

Sent off: Arbeloa

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

Attendance:

Latest Champions League results and tables

This allowed City one last desperate
roll of the dice and it fell lucky for them with a penalty that afforded
at least respectability. Alvaro Arbeloa looked to have stumbled while
tracking Sergio Aguero and when his fall took the striker with him,
referee Gianluca Rocchi of Italy eschewed benefit of the doubt, sent the
Madrid man off and pointed to the spot.

Aguero converted and City were back in
the game: but it was too late. A draw was enough to send Madrid through
and City are playing for pride, and no more, in Germany next month.

As it stands, they will finish bottom
of the group and not even make the Europa League. Maybe that is just as
well. Without the distraction of Europe, City can concentrate on what
they do best: defeating English opposition. Although suddenly that
doesn’t sound so special any more.

‘The
way this is going,’ said Gary Lineker mischievously midway through the
first half, ‘if Roman Abramovich had waited until tomorrow he could have
appointed Roberto Mancini.’

A tad harsh on Mancini, who is, after all, top of the league going into the weekend, but it did sum up the state of the game.

Predator: Karim Benzema celebrates after putting Real Madrid in front at the Etihad Stadium

Predator: Karim Benzema celebrates after putting Real Madrid in front at the Etihad Stadium

Easy as that: Benzema ghosts in unmarked at the far post to tap in past City keeper Joe Hart

Easy as that: Benzema ghosts in unmarked at the far post to tap in past City keeper Joe Hart

Mancini was again at odds dealing with his Champions League opponents and his best-laid plan — three at the back — was hastily rewritten to become a back four not long after Real Madrid scored.

‘Taxi for Maicon,’ Tottenham Hotspur supporters had sung mockingly after Gareth Bale had laid waste to Inter Milan at White Hart Lane two years ago, and his experience against Cristiano Ronaldo was no less edifying.

Penalty: Sergio Aguero (right) is brought down in the area by Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeloa

Penalty: Sergio Aguero (right) is brought down in the area by Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeloa

Equaliser: Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero scores from the penalty spot to level things up

Equaliser: City striker Aguero scores from the penalty spot to level things up in the second half

Seeing red: Arbeloa (centre) is sent off for a second yellow card after bringing down Aguero for a penalty

Seeing red: Arbeloa (centre) is sent off for a second yellow card after bringing down Aguero for a penalty

What mystifies is how Brazil win a game on the days when when two defenders as lackadaisical as Maicon and David Luiz of Chelsea are in the team. If Luiz is a defender as controlled by a 10-year-old via Playstation, Maicon is a defender as controlled by that same 10-year-old well past his bedtime and feeling a little sleepy. For Madrid’s first-half goal, one can imagine the poor little mite nodding off completely.

Angel di Maria hit a deep cross from the right and Maicon stood becalmed as Karim Benzema ghosted past him to volley the ball into the net from impossibly close range. On other occasions, Maicon’s attempts to get close to Ronaldo were met with something approaching contempt, as the Madrid man played now you see it, now you don’t with the ball. He would show it to Maicon, make it disappear, out it would come again, and then gone.

How did this stay out Sergio Aguero (right) sees his close-ranger volley saved by Madrid keeper Iker Casillas

How did this stay out Sergio Aguero (right) sees his close-ranger volley saved by Madrid keeper Iker Casillas

Scream: Pablo Zabaleta (centre) reacts after receiving a yellow card from referee Gianluca Rocchi

Scream: Pablo Zabaleta (centre) reacts after receiving a yellow card from referee Gianluca Rocchi

One half-expected him to bring it out from behind Maicon’s ear, like an uncle with a shiny 50p piece.

The cavalry arrived in the form of Vincent Kompany, but Ronaldo made a chump of him, too. He was loving the attention, loving being at the heart of it all, even if the reaction to his touches was a chorus of boos. He knew what that meant, really. They were frightened of him, unnerved by what he was doing to their team.

He didn’t disappoint on his return to the city that took his raw talent and moulded an unstoppable force. He has averaged more than a goal a game since joining Madrid, but the Spaniards signed the finished article.

Welcome back to Manchester: Pablo Zabaleta (left) manhandles Cristiano Ronaldo (right)

Welcome back to Manchester: Pablo Zabaleta (left) manhandles Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo (right)

Welcome back to Manchester: City fans hand Ronaldo a less than friendly reception at the Etihad

Welcome back to Manchester: City fans hand Ronaldo a less than friendly reception at the Etihad

Manchester made Ronaldo, the red half of it, and it is questionable whether their neighbours would have been allowed to get quite so noisy had he remained. Sir Alex Ferguson thinks his is a talent that cannot be bought but if anyone had the money to test that theory it would be City. Perhaps that is why canny Sir Alex keeps in touch; not because he thinks Ronaldo is a realistic target for United, but to keep him loyal and compromised if City ever come calling.

And they will, one day, surely. As Ronaldo teased and twisted, skipped away from danger, threatened every time he got over the ball, what self-respecting owner-billionaire could be immune to his charms

Look who's back: Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho (right) made a successful return to England

Look who's back: Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho (right) made a successful return to England

It was a low Ronaldo cross that set Benzema up for a close-range shot after 13 minutes, Ronaldo who put a cross on a plate for Sami Khedira a minute later, Ronaldo who sprang City’s defensive trap two minutes after that, chipped Hart exquisitely only to be foiled by Matija Nastasic’s desperate recovery to clear from the line.

When it wasn’t Ronaldo at the coal face of creation, Madrid had plenty of others with the wit to further spoil City’s night. Xabi Alonso dinked a lovely ball to Khedira after 24 minutes, the midfielder bursting through City’s square defence — four not three now — only for Hart to make a heroic save at his feet.

As for City, despite the gravity of their position in Group D, pickings were slim in the first half. Aguero provided the best of it, on the counter-attack, with a powerful run and shot that Iker Casillas did well to tip over. Maicon had a go at the end of a surging run, too, but City were better after half-time as the minutes ticked away and with it another disappointing season for Mancini in Europe.

Borussia Dortmund beat Real Madrid – Champions League round-up

Dortmund stun Madrid to further dent City's chances of qualifying for knockout stages

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UPDATED:

21:36 GMT, 24 October 2012

Manchester City's hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League are hanging by a thread after Borussia Dortmund's surprise 2-1 win over Real Madrid in Germany.

The result takes Dortmund to the top of the group ahead of Jose Mourinho's men, while City sit bottom with just a point from their first three games.

Robert Lewandowski netted a 36th-minute opener for the Germans and, although Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled it out within two minutes, Marcel Schmelzer hit the home side's winner in the 64th minute.

Party time: Borussia Dortmund celebrate beating Real Madrid

Party time: Borussia Dortmund celebrate beating Real Madrid

Winner: Marcel Schmelzer slams home Dormund's second goal

Winner: Marcel Schmelzer slams home Dormund's second goal

Olympiacos claimed their first points
by coming from behind to beat Montpellier 2-1 in France and throw Group
B wide open after Arsenal's defeat to Schalke.

Gaetan Charbonnier gave Montpellier a
49th-minute lead before Vassilas Torosidis struck a 73rd-minute
equaliser and substitute Kostas Mitroglou poked home a dramatic
injury-time winner on the counter-attack.

Wednesday's results sent Schalke to
the top on seven points, one ahead of the Gunners, with Olympiacos
moving up to three points and Montpellier bringing up the rear on one.

Big win: Olympiakos boosted their chances of qualifying

Big win: Olympiakos boosted their chances of qualifying

On a night of surprises, Malaga extended their lead at the top of Group C to three points as they beat AC Milan 1-0, Joaquin grabbing the only goal of the game in the 64th minute from a through-ball by Manuel Iturra.

Also in Group C, Zenit St Petersburg emerged as serious contenders with a 1-0 win over Anderlecht in Russia. Alexander Kerzhakov netted a 72nd-minute winner from the penalty spot after Milan Jovanovic fouled Alexander Anyukov in the box.

In Group A, Porto maintained their 100 per cent record with a 3-2 win over Dynamo Kiev in Portugal.
The visitors twice struck back from behind with Oleg Gusev and Ideye Brown cancelling out strikes from Silvestre Varela and Jackson Martinez respectively, before Martinez's second won the game 12 minutes from time.

Despair: AC Milan were beaten by Spanish side Malaga

Despair: AC Milan were beaten by Spanish side Malaga

Also in Group A, Paris St Germain moved clear in second place with a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia. Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring on 32 minutes and Jeremy Menez made it two before half-time.

Robert Lewandowski misses chance to impress English suitors

Flashes of brilliance but Lewandowski failed his Premier League audition

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 17 October 2012

He was the man Roy Hodgson wanted watching closely and he had his defenders mobilised to do it. He's also the man the Premier League's biggest clubs want watching and they have mobilised their scouts to do it.

But Robert Lewandowski didn't take full advantage of his time in the transfer shop window that was Poland's World Cup qualifier with England.

Coveted by the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, to mention but three of the English sides who have pencilled the Borussia Dortmund frontman on their wish lists, Lewandowski is a hot property surely bound for these shores sooner rather than later.#

Nearly: Lewandowski reacts after seeing a shot flash across the face of goal

Nearly: Lewandowski reacts after seeing a shot flash across the face of goal

There were a few flashes of his
tremendous potential – a few swashbuckling runs towards the penalty
area, a fizzed shot across the face of goal when a cross might have been
preferable, a few clever darts through the peripheral vision of the
England back four.

But largely he was shackled by Phil
Jagielka – outwitted and outmuscled, willing but unable. He's a
livewire, no doubt about it, but England managed to blow the fuse.

Lewandowski's statistics speak for
themselves. A goal every three internationals, prolific 30-goal seasons
in the Bundesliga and a well-honed set of attributes which make the
24-year-old an almost complete player.

Chase me: Lewandowski tries to break clear of England's Ashley Cole in the first half

Chase me: Lewandowski tries to break clear of England's Ashley Cole in the first half

But this all-round ability was part of the
problem – in the early stages, employed by Poland coach Waldemar
Formalik as a lone striker, he seemed a little unsure of his role.

He was falling unnecessarily deep, to
the half-way line in many cases, and roaming far and wide. But this was
someone else's job.

He was treading on the toes of Ludovic Obraniak, the number ten, and getting hounded out on the half-way line.

Was Lewandowski the number ten The number nine The nine-and-a-half

Lewandowski has developed the right
attributes to fulfil the number ten job – the hold-up play, the
movement, the direct runs and the radar – but he needs to know when to
just chase the goals.

Shackled: Lewandowski challenges for the ball with Lescott and Jagielka, who kept him quiet for much of the game

Shackled: Lewandowski challenges for the ball with Lescott and Jagielka, who kept him quiet for much of the game

After all, this is what Manchester
City, Manchester United, Chelsea or whoever entices him away from
Dortmund will require of him.

When he gained clarity about his role,
his stature in the match grew. He began jostling for every half-a-yard
of space with Jagielka, though noticeably tried to drift towards Joleon
Lescott, whom he clearly saw as the softer touch.

Future teammates Lewandowski shares a joke with Joe Hart

Future teammates Lewandowski shares a joke with Joe Hart

When deeper, there was menace in his
driving runs towards the penalty area and his one big opportunity of the
night arrived when bursting down the right channel.

Caught in two minds, he drilled a
dangerous shot across goal instead of looking up and laying the ball
back to teammates arriving in the box.

It proved costly – Wayne Rooney gave England the lead three minutes later and Poland had to chase the game.

Just before half-time, there was a second glimpse of Lewandowski genius – a cute, chipped pass to release Grosicki.

Chosen one: Lewandowski is coveted by the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, according to reports

Chosen one: Lewandowski is coveted by the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, according to reports

But it was the only time all afternoon that Lewandowski managed to outwit England's central defensive pairing.

In the second half, he was largely disappointing as Poland chased the game. He sometimes found the right areas but didn't receive the service – notably when Piszczek bombed forward from right-back on 52 minutes and played a dangerous low ball behind his clever run.

Unfortunately, a set piece did breach England's resistance and Poland's Glik managed to get them a deserved share of the spoils.

The accusation that Lewandowski
doesn't perform in the bigger international matches has become a common
one. It certainly was the case here.

But don't think it'll stop the Premier League scouts watching a player of immense potential.

Robert Lewandowski has England in his sights: COMMENT

Pin-up adds final polish… and now Lewandowski has England in his sights

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UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 15 October 2012

A trace of bewilderment flashed across the face of Robert Lewandowski at the Poland team hotel here on Saturday.

Lewandowski, the 24-year-old pin-up striker, seemed taken aback by the idea that he is improving. In his own mind, he has always been very good.

Asked about a quotation from Ottmar Hitzfeld, who earlier this year described Lewandowski as ‘a player transformed’, the player in question replied: ‘I’m working on a daily basis. There’s no big difference. I don’t know what else I can say.’

World on his shoulders: Robert Lewandowski is Poland's danger man

World on his shoulders: Robert Lewandowski is Poland's danger man

He may feel unaltered but in his first season at Borussia Dortmund, the striker scored nine goals in 43 appearances. Last season that jumped to 30 in 46, with a hat-trick in the German Cup final against Bayern Munich.

A player whose value was being queried in 2011, even though Lewandowski cost only €4.5m when he was signed from Lech Poznan, was in 2012 named Bundesliga Player of the Year.

Hitzfeld had his reasons. The transformation is what has grabbed the attention of rival Champions League clubs. That scoring spike is why England will watch him so closely on Tuesday night.

One of Poland’s assistant coaches, Hubert Malowiejski, who worked with Lewandowski at Poznan until 2010, confirmed the player’s innate self-confidence, and also the Hitzfeld opinion.

‘I know Robert from Lech Poznan,’ Malowiejski said. ‘Three years ago he was just a striker who could score goals. Now he can drop into the Wayne Rooney position and start combinations. And his heading has improved. He’s become a more complete player.

Head boy: Lewandowski opened the scoring at summer's European Championships

Head boy: Lewandowski opened the scoring at summer's European Championships

‘Playing in a very good team, and being in the first XI, has been very important for his progress. If he went to, say, Barcelona and was on the bench, he cannot improve.

'But in Dortmund, with a great coach and team-mates, playing in the Champions League, he is very capable with great potential.

‘Training and playing with good players every single day, that’s the reason why he is so good now. He believes in himself even more now. And he always did.’

But not everyone else did. That Lewandowski was playing at Poznan, rather than in his native Warsaw, is indicative of a not-so straightforward road to the top.

Big match player: Lewandowski has a below par record against top teams

Big match player: Lewandowski has a below par record against top teams

Famously, the Poland manager at Euro 2012, Franciszek Smuda, travelled to watch Lewandowski when he was manager of Lech Poznan. Smuda, in a quote he subsequently denied, described the journey as a waste of petrol.

The sporting director of Poznan signed the forward anyway and Smuda then picked him for Poland. It was Lewandowski’s soaring header in the opening match of Euro 2012 against Greece that gave the tournament lift-off.

He had been playing for Znicz Pruszkow at the time of Smuda’s scouting. That was in the Polish third division — Lewandowski was 18. He finished top scorer and helped Pruszkow to promotion.

Having grown up 30 miles from Warsaw in Leszno, Lewandowski had ambitions to play for Poland’s biggest club, Legia Warsaw.

He is from a sporting family — his father Krzysztof, who had been a lower division player, died when he was a teenager; his mother Iwona was a volleyball player, and is now president of the local football club Partizan Leszno.

But instead it was at Delta Warsaw in the fourth division where he began and though he made it to Legia as a teenager, it was with mainly the youth and third teams. Lewandowski was allowed to leave Legia for Pruszkow at 17.

It has been upward since. But for all the upsurge in goals in the Bundesliga, he misses chances, too, as was seen for Dortmund at Manchester City a fortnight ago. In eight Champions League games for Borussia, Lewandowski has two goals.

In Poland, there is also awareness that in 47 games for his country, only one of his 15 goals came in a competitive match — that Euro 2012 opener v Greece.

Goals galore: Lewandowski was on target in the final game before the international break

Goals galore: Lewandowski was on target in the final game before the international break

‘In games against big rivals it’s true that I haven’t normally scored,’ Lewandowski said at the start of this current international break. ‘I’m working for the team. But I’d like to score in this game.’

He does contribute more than goals, as he said. And he is usually up front on his own. Lewandowski has not always taken this quietly. He was prepared to question Smuda.

Similarly there have been dismissive comments about non-native Poland players such as Ludovic Obraniak. The relationship between the two is said to be tense, yet they are the biggest danger to England. Personal feelings may be set aside.

But only for so long. The politics over Lewandowski’s future will return — he is out of contract at Dortmund in 2014. Agent Cezary Kucharski has already been criticised by Borussia manager Jurgen Klopp over the flurry of transfer stories. Kucharski knows how it works. He is a former player; he is also an MP.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski vows to cut Joe Hart down to size

Hart attack! Poland striker Lewandowski vows to cut England keeper down to size

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UPDATED:

20:30 GMT, 13 October 2012

Poland's warrior centre-forward Robert Lewandowski has promised to cut Joe Hart down to size on Tuesday night.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was frustrated by Hart's wonder show for Manchester City in their recent Champions League clash.

But Lewandowski, who carries much of
Poland's World Cup goal threat against England, played down Hart's
importance in that 1-1 draw at The Etihad and doubts whether the England
keeper will look so good at the end of this Group H qualifier.

Warning shot: Poland's Robert Lewandowski is confident

Warning shot: Poland's Robert Lewandowski is confident

The 24-year-old Poland superstar, who knows England will face a hostile atmosphere in the national stadium, warned last night: 'Hart had his day but no two games are ever the same. Just because he managed to do something in Manchester doesn't mean he will be able to repeat it in Warsaw.

'To be honest, we Dortmund players helped him a little bit in Manchester – and so did the post and the crossbar!

'Besides, we scored one goal so it's not like he is unbeatable or something. We can score past him. Maybe one goal like that will give Poland three points on Tuesday, and I hope to score it. We know England have had some defensive problems and we might just be able to surprise them. They're always going to be a difficult team but they didn't play so good at Euro 2012 and maybe we can hit form on the right day.'

Shot-stopper: Joe Hart in action against San Marino

Shot-stopper: Joe Hart in action against San Marino

Despite the quality which Poland possess in their side, Hart, 25, sees no reason why he cannot keep the prolific forward at bay once again and maintain England's unbeaten start to their qualifying section.

Recalling his heroics for City earlier this month, Hart said: 'I hope it won't be any different. Hopefully the game itself won't be as open as the last time I played against him. It is a big, important game for us and I'm looking forward to it.

'That's the beauty of international football – when you're playing away you're playing against the nation. But we will have that pocket of fans who we always take and are awesome. We will look to them and be inspired by them, which is great.

'I enjoy playing football, especially for my country in big games that really mean things. That is the beauty of qualifiers and tournaments – they really do mean a great deal to myself as well.'

Hart revealed Poland became a second home to the England players during the summer after they spent so much time there during the European Championship finals, basing themselves in Krakow and flying for matches in Ukrainian cities such as Donetsk and Kiev.

He is well aware of the passion and expectation that the Poland supporters generate for their own team, and the disappointment felt as the tournament co-hosts failed to emerge from a group in which they managed just two draws to be eliminated at the hands of the Czech Republic and Greece.

Young guns: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlayne (2nd left), Danny Welbeck (left) and Tom Cleverley (2nd right) celebrate

Young guns: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlayne (2nd left), Danny Welbeck (left) and Tom Cleverley (2nd right) celebrate

Hart said: 'We felt a lot of love from the Polish people. We felt obliged to support them, too. There is a lot of pressure on them. They were very unlucky in a tough group and I thought they did well but it wasn't meant to be.'

Despite manager Roy Hodgson bringing more youngsters into the England starting line-up, such as Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Hart sees no reason why they cannot come away with a positive result and consolidate their place at the top of the group after Friday night's 5-0 Wembley walk-over against San Marino.

'It will be a new experience for some of our youngsters but players adapt and that is the beauty of young players now. They don't play with any fear. I am not exactly old but I was a young player once and you really look forward to games like this.'

Decision time: England boss Roy Hodgson

Decision time: England boss Roy Hodgson

Meanwhile, Lewandowski, who has won 47 caps scoring 15 goals, offered little encouragement to Sir Alex Ferguson after being linked with a January move to Manchester United in the wake of Fergie's visit to see him play at City.

'I'm playing in a serious league so he can watch me every week if he likes,' added the striker. 'But I have two years left on a valid contract with my club and I want this season to be as good as last season.'

Lewandowski scored 22 goals in 34 games for Dortmund last term, being named Bundesliga player of the season as the club earned their first league-cup double.

But he explained: 'I don't often score in the really big games so I'd love to score against England. Having said that, I often make an impact in big games with a pass or some movement to create space for others, so I'm pleased with my game.'