Man City vs. Borussia Dortmund result: Haaland magic downs former club in Champions League

ETIHAD STADIUM, MANCHESTER — Erling Haaland produced a stunning acrobatic finish to snatch a 2-1 Champions League win for Manchester City against former club Borussia Dortmund.

Pep Guardiola’s side were listless for long periods in the Group G clash at Etihad Stadium and, after failing to register a shot on target during the first half, they fell behind to Jude Bellignham’s opportunistic header on the end of Marco Reus’ 56th-minute shot. .

City had still not troubled Alexander Meyer’s net until the 80th minute when John Stones slammed home an unlikely strike from 25 yards.

Haaland then produced another moment to savor four minutes later as Dortmund gave Joao Cancelo too much time and space to aim one of his trademark outside-of-the-foot crosses.

The No.9 flung out his left boot in mid-air to convert from close range. It was Haaland’s 13th goal in eight appearances for his new employers and 26th in 21 career Champions League appearances, ensuring City made it two wins from two in this season’s competition.

Man City vs. Borussia Dortmund final score

1H 2H ultimate
MCI 0 2 2
BVB 0 1 1

Goals:
BVB — Jude Bellingham (Marco Reus) — 56th min.

MCI — John Stones (Kevin De Bruyne) — 80th min.

MCI — Erling Haaland (Joao Cancelo) — 84th min.

Haaland’s world and we’re all just living in it

And so, the show rolls on. It looked like it wouldn’t be his night. It perhaps should have belonged to Bellingham, who is set to be the next mega-money Dortmund export.

But Haaland at this moment in time is a rockstar footballer who doesn’t deal in half-measures. His respectfully muted celebration having downed his former employers was arguably the first understated thing he has done since arriving in Manchester.

The Norway striker was expected to add a new dimension to City but, specifically, his goals are bailing the team out when they don’t play well and earning results they might not deserve. That marks a significant gear change from almost two years of Guardiola pursuing perfection through false No.9s.

The Premier League champions simply didn’t tend to blast themselves out of situations like this, although after Haaland’s goals prompted Premier League comebacks against Newcastle United and Crystal Palace last month, the question of why his side kept ending up in such binds in the first place will be troubling Guardiola.

MORE: Erling Haaland goals, records for Manchester City: Latest tally comes vs. ex-club Dortmund in the Champions League

Schlotterback made to eat Haaland’s words

It certainly sounded like a bold pre-match strategy. Dortmund defender Nico Schlotterbeck told Sport1: “I know how to stop Erling Haaland. We have to stop them as a whole; Erling is the least of our problems.”

It seemed Terdic didn’t entirely agree as he benched Schlotterbeck after the 3-0 weekend defeat to RB Leipzig. But apparently he’d passed his tips on. Niklas Sule and Mats Hummels were imperious at the heart of the visitors’ defense. It was all going rather well, with Dortmund 1-0 to the good.

Then Terdic decided to send on Schlotterbeck as an extra centre-back. In many respects, Haaland remained the least of Dortmund’s problems when Stones decided to channel his inner Roberto Carlos, but the man with the plan could only look on helplessly from the ground when the City striker contorted himself improbably to net the winner.

Mahrez and Grealish rue missed opportunity

Three times in the first half, Grealish cut inside and telegraphed a right-footed shot that was blocked behind. City then failed to threaten from any of the resulting corners. It felt like the footballing equivalent of the Simpsons episode where Homer keeps nutting a nature reserve warden in the ribs. “Stop doing that, Mr Grealish.”

Guardiola criticized his team for “having a lot of problems to get our rhythm… we were so passive in our transitions, our movements to be aggressive.” A big reason for this was Grealish and Mahrez cutting inside, slowing attacks down and making the hosts far too predictable. The increase in dynamism once Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez came on was abundant.

It would be exciting to see all three start alongside Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne, even though such a line-up would lack the control Guardiola craves. Regardless, right now in this new-look Haaland-based Manchester City, Mahrez and Grealish are being left behind. In a team with renewed and varied attacking threats, they have not provided a goal or an assist between them so far this season.