Despite an all-important Manchester derby looming on Sunday and the sometimes perceived distraction that Europa League participation can bring, Roberto Mancini says his side will be going for victory when they round off their Champions League participation with a trip to face Borussia Dortmund.
City sit bottom of Group D after another disappointing campaign in the Champions League and need to win in order to stand a chance of overhauling Ajax and claiming a spot in the Europa League.
“In the Europa League you play on Thursdays, so that's a bit tricky, but we still want to make it and will try everything to go through and then go as far as possible there,” Mancini said, according to UEFA.com.
Having taken just three points from five matches, there is little disguising that City have failed to meet expectations in Europe’s top competition this season.
“We are disappointed because we wanted to reach the second round,” Mancini explained. “But I believe that there are times when there are teams in football that are better than you and you have to respect that. We have to accept that Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid played better than we did and we'll have to try again next season.”
Like City, Dortmund were left disappointed by their failures to replicate domestic success on the continent last season, However, it has been a very different story for Jurgen Klopp’s side this campaign. Dortmund are already guaranteed to top the group, having particularly excelled in taking four points from two games against Real Madrid.
Against City at the Etihad back in October, the Bundesliga champions also showed that they warrant a place in Europe’s elite with a performance that deserved more than the 1-1 draw it received.
Klopp has said that he is eager for a repeat of that performance and will not be making wholesale changes to his side at the Signal Iduna Park. However, Neven Subotic and midfield duo Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender are all out.
City also have injury problems, with David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov ruled out to join James Milner, Gael Clichy, Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell on the injured list.
Borussia Dortmund (probable)
D: Piszczek, Santana, Hummels. Schmelzer
M: Gundogan, Leitner
Grosskreutz, Gotze, Perisic
Manchester City (probable)
D: Maicon, Nastasic, Kompany, Zabaleta
M: Garcia, Barry
Nasri, Tevez, Balotelli
Prediction: It remains to be seen just how much City will put into going for victory in Dortmund. While Mancini would doubtless like to make a point with a first victory in the Champions League this season, the Premier League is now surely far and away his priority.
Dortmund also have little to play for and the match could end in an ultimately uninspiring draw.
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Manchester City
Where to watch: The Champions League match kicks-off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, with a live stream available on Fox Soccer 2Go.