BVB may have stretched their unbeaten streak against Bundesliga record title-holders FC Bayern Munich to five league matches at the weekend, but it is in Europe's elite club competition where Mario Götze and Co. have been at their most prolific this season, proving all of their doubters emphatically wrong.
With many expecting Dortmund to fall on hard times in the 'Group of Champions' alongside City, Real Madrid CF and Ajax, the Bundesliga title-holders are now being talked about as one of the favourites to win the tournament. "It's just incredible to reach the last 16 by finishing top of this group," exclaimed Kevin Großkreutz. The Ruhr district native was unwilling to get ahead of himself after the win over Ajax, though. "All of the teams in the next round boast a lot of quality; it will definitively be tough."
Head coach Jürgen Klopp followed suit and was keen to keep his side's feet planted on the ground ahead of their encounter with the Premier League champions, who are unbeaten in 15 league games this season. "I'm happy that we have already secured qualification for the last 16," stated Klopp on the club's official website. "But let's see who we are able to field. Neven Subotic has an adductor problem, Sebastian Kehl couldn't play against Bayern and Sven Bender featured despite carrying a knock. It's a tough phase for all of us."
After being denied victory in Manchester by a late penalty on Matchday 2, Dortmund will undoubtedly be keen to put the icing on the proverbial cake, with the aim of underlining their status as Europe's most exciting team. The omens are in BVB's favour too, considering they are unbeaten at home against English opposition in Europe, while City have only picked up three points from a possible 15 on German soil.
The hosts will be hoping that Joe Hart doesn't repeat his heroic performance from the 1-1 draw, but whether Manchester field a full-strength side with the likes of Sergio Agüero and Carlos Tevez or not, it won't change Dortmund's approach. "Our success is down to a lot of hard work," stated Lukasz Piszczek, while Götze was of the opinion that BVB's "composure and efficiency up front" is what has set them apart in the current campaign.
Win or lose there's no denying that Dortmund have come on leaps and bounds since their appearance in the competition last season. "We've probably created even more chances than last season, but we lacked ruthlessness then. It's a different story this time around. The lads are doing a great job and I hope it will carry on," declared Mats Hummels.
Dortmund’s achievements have not gone unnoticed, with UEFA including no fewer than four of Klopp’s squad in a 40-strong poll for their 2012 Team of the Year. Votes can be cast here.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Felipe Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Leitner - Blaszczykowski, Götze, Reus - Schieber
Manchester City: Pantilimon - Zabaleta, Lescott, Nastasic, Kolo Toure - Javi Garcia, Barry - Milner, Nasri, Sinclair - Dzeko