Champions League must matter to Man City if they want Marco Reus
Bert Trautmann, Uwe Rosler, Didi Hamann, Jerome Boateng. Manchester City, odds-on at 10/11 to qualify from Champions League Group E with Coral but also 8/11 to exit the competition at this stage, have historically had a steady stream of memorable German talent.
Could in-demand Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus’ name be added to that list? City face stiff competition from Champions League group leaders Bayern Munich to land him, with the Allianz outfit publicly courting him. Reus even netted against his potential suitors recently, albeit in a losing effort for Jurgen Klopp.
Given the poor performances in Europe’s elite club competition under both Roberto Mancini and now Manuel Pellegrini, the Etihad outfit may not be an attractive prospect to Reus if the Sky Blues cannot get out of their pool. Signs suggest City are paying the price for flouting Financial Fair Play rules, as a reduced Champions League squad of 21 has already hampered their chances.
Add in injuries, notably to creative forces Samir Nasri and now David Silva, and their hopes seem somewhat slimmer. City’s Chilean coach Pellegrini has moved to calm understandable nerves, though, by suggesting the home group game with CSKA Moscow is not definitive in shaping potential progress to the last 16.
“I think it is a very important game but it is not a ‘death’ game because until mathematics can’t fix [it], you can continue,” Pellegrini said. “We will consider it not a final game but a very, very important game.
“We will see what happens. We are going to try to win our two games at home and see what the other teams do (Roma are also in City’s group), but I am sure this will be decided in the last game.
“Of course our target is always to try to win the Champions League. We must put in our mind that we are able to do it, that we have a good squad. With a winning mentality and an ambitious mind, you must always think you can do it. I think we have time to prove it.”
Speaking of winning, it’s a feeling City have only felt in around a third (eight out of 23) of Champions League matches they have played and not at all in the current campaign. They may be strong odds-on 1/4 favourites for victory in their next assignment against CSKA, but must be wary of complacency.
A two-goal lead slipped away in Moscow last time out and another draw here (5/1) would surely bring a realistic end to qualification hopes, with rampant Bayern to come next and an away day in Rome to finish up with. City are alternatively on offer at a match special 6/4 (max stake £20) with Coral to win to nil against CSKA.
Reus missed out on the World Cup triumph that Germany enjoyed in Brazil through injury, so is not likely to settle for second best in his club career. Dortmund’s domestic slide – they presently occupy a relegation/promotion play-off place in the Bundesliga – seems to be edging him closer to the door.
Former Westfalenstadion teammates Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski moving to Munich will be a powerful draw for Reus, especially as Pep Guardiola’s current widemen Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are both north of 30 now.
Being able to work on his understanding with Gotze and fellow Germany international Thomas Muller will also be tempting. If City really want Reus, then the Champions League must be a matter of life and death.