Munich - When it comes to Borussia Dortmund and the Champions League, few can speak with more authority than Steffen Freund, who won the competition with the Yellow-Blacks back in 1997.

Looking ahead to Dortmund's second group game at Manchester City on Wednesday evening, the former defensive midfielder and 21-time Germany international spoke with bundesliga.com about his ex-club's prospects. These days an assistant coach at Tottenham Hotspur, Freund is well acquainted with both teams and he revealed how Dortmund can crack the English champions and take another step towards reaching the knockout phase of the tournament.

bundesliga.com: Steffen Freund, Dortmund are away to Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday evening. What do they need to do to win this game?

Steffen Freund: First of all it's worth remembering that this is the toughest group in the competition. I think it was extremely important that Dortmund won their first game at home to Ajax, and kept a clean sheet as well. That gives them a platform to work from already. Manchester City have begun the season reasonably well in the Premier League and will be fairly confident after winning against Fulham at the weekend. You have to say that City were unlucky to lose in Madrid and the situation is now such that it's vital for them to win this game. They'll probably try to put Dortmund under pressure early on and build up a head of steam, forcing them into making mistakes. City have unbelievable strength in depth up front. Edin Dzeko comes on as a substitute and always scores. I'll be intrigued to see how Roberto Manicini approaches this game.

bundesliga.com: Dortmund have had some defensive problems recently. Are they more mature than last season, and will the defence be a defining factor in this game?

Steffen Freund: They will obviously have to be strong and compact at the back in Manchester and not to give too much away, both individually and as a team. The fact they kept a clean sheet against Ajax was extremely important, and they then followed that up with a 5-0 win at the weekend. It has been an okay start for Dortmund this season. They're playing well in attack, but we have seen them concede goals, particularly the six they shipped in Hamburg and in Frankfurt. The two can be separated - domestic form and Champions League form. The Champions League is a totally different kettle of fish. They've started well in Europe and, with a point or even a win in Manchester, they can take a massive step towards reaching the last 16 of the competition.

bundesliga.com: And do you think Jürgen Klopp's team will qualify for the next phase?

Steffen Freund: It's very difficult to give a definitive answer at this point. The fact is that Manchester City have to win the game, otherwise they will be under tremendous pressure. It's also the case that Dortmund can take a big step forward if they can emerge from it unbeaten. My gut feeling tells me that, on the back of the defeat at Hamburg, Dortmund aren't quite there and at their best yet away from home - and Man City will certainly create enough chances to win this match.

bundesliga.com:Have you noticed many changes in the way Dortmund have played this season in the Champion League compared to last year?

Steffen Freund: It's too soon to say. Their negative experience last season will have taught them something in itself. The game against Ajax showed that to a degree, but it was just one match, against probably the weakest opponents in the group. It would be premature to say that they've come on a long way from last season. Perhaps we'll be able to say that after three games, but not after one.


Interview by Bernard Reeves