Manchester City were dumped out of Europe with a 1-0 defeat against an impressive Dortmund second string
• Tonight's action in picture form, for your leisure and pleasure
You could argue that they weren't that bothered, but then neither were Dortmund in the first half. The German side simply turned it up a notch or two after the break and City could not respond. They'll console themselves with the fact that they'll get plenty of midweeks with their collective feet up in front of the fire, I suppose. Right, that's it from me. Thank you for your company. I'm off to drink several pints of revolting yellow cold remedy and soak my head over a vat of bubbling Vicks VapoRub. Cheerio!
And that's it. No Thursday nights on Channel Five for City.
90+2 min: The referee blows for a foul against Balotelli who picks up the ball and slams it into the turf in wild annoyance. He gets a yellow card for his trouble.
90+1 min: Three minutes of added time. Two goals required. Zero chance.
89 min: Balotelli goes though … but he's (a little unfortunate to be judged) offside.
87 min: Dortmund are set to bring on 18-year-old Leonardo Bittencourt. He looks about 10. I certainly wouldn't be serving him anything stronger than a J2O.
86 min: Agüero gets a first glance of goal and fires a firm shot straight at Weidenfeller.
85 min: A City player loses the ball horribly in midfield – I couldn't swear to it but I think it was Garcia again – and Lewandowski is through with Perisic. They exchange passes but City get enough bodies back to snuff out the danger.
82 min: Lewandowski is through on goal but his angle gets narrower and narrower. He rifles off a sweetly struck shot, though, which Hart saves with his face.
80 min: Not only will this be the lowest ever points tally from an English team in the Champions League, City will also become the first English team not to win a game in their group. True, it was a tough draw – there's no shame in losing to this excellent Dortmund side or to Real, but those games against Ajax have been damaging.
78 min: Aguero teases in a dangerous cross, but Schmelzer is there to whack the thing away from the edge of the six yard box.
76 min: Dortmund cut through City – that was not so much a hot knife through butter as a flaming chainsaw through some sort of straight-from-the-fridge-low-fat-spread. After a series of passes Gundogan, who has been hugely impressive in an understated way, gathers 30 yards from goal and pops the ball to Grosskreutz. He passes inside to Leitner, but his finish is tamer than a hand-reared squirrel.
73 min: "If this is Dortmund's second string it doesn't bode well for the Premier League teams left in the competition," writes Mark Judd. "They just appear much more technically adept than the teams in the Premier League have to offer." I think I'm right in saying that Dortmund have got six first-choice players in their side tonight. Ominously good they are too.
72 min: Balotelli is caught offside. "BOOOOOOO!" boo the crowd unnecessarily.
71 min: Dortmund seem to have quelled City's fire for now. After a brief panic, they're back in control.
69 min: "Surely I'm not the only one to notice the frightening similarity between Win Butler of Arcade Fire and tonight's goal scorer, Julian Schieber?" notes Keenan Robbins. What do we think? Julian Schieber. And Win Butler. Not far off at all, I'd say.
68 min: The corner comes to nothing, as per. Zabaleta replaces Nasri.
67 min: Tevez is allowed to run and run and run. And run. And run. And run. It's great strength and balance under pressure from three defenders. Weidenfeller spills the Argentinian's eventual shot away for a corner.
65 min: "I'd quite like to see Scott Sinclair and Samir Nasri get into Batty-Le Sauxesque fisticuffs," writes Steve Waterhouse. "Imagine how long it would last." Balotelli's every touch is greeted by hefty whistles from the home fans.
63 min: On comes Balotelli for Dzeko.
#mcfc not stood still in Europe / gone backwards. Odd— jamie jackson (@GuardianJamieJ) December 4, 2012
62 min: City look to respond quickly but, as it has been so often tonight, their delivery into the box is simply nowhere near good enough.
60 min: So as it stands City need to score twice to pip Ajax to that Europa League spot and to avoid the ignominy of a worse record than the much maligned Blackburn Champions League campaign in 1995-96.
59 min: Schieber is through again. Ach, but he attempts a Fifa 2013 style dink over the keeper than just plops into the hands of Hart.
This is all Blaszczkowski. The Polish winger makes a tricky chest control look easy then sticks on the after burners and goes roaring past Nastacic. Then he provides the perfect low cross, splitting centre-half and goalkeeper like he was butterflying a chicken breat and giving Schieber a simple tap in.
55 min: Aguero replaces the ineffectual Sinclair. To be fair to the winger I had typed the word "ineffectual" before the board went up safe in the knowledge that it would apply to any City player.
53 min: Dortmund have brought their meat to the grill now. Grosskreutz does fantastically inside the City box to work a yard or two of space and Hart does well to get down and make the block.
52 min: Gundogan switches play from left to right and Perisic shows fantastic technique to meet the high ball first time with a left-foot volley that Hart is forced to tip over.
51 min: Perisic shimmies and shakes on the left but pings two attempted crosses into Maicon, to the mild irritation of the home fans.
49 min: … Schmelzer fizzes in a beauty, one of those sumptuous inswingers that stays low and curls goalwards, skipping off the turf just inside the six yard box. Hummels gets only a feathery contact on it and he probably should have done better with his slide.
48 min: Blaszczkowski picks Nasri's pocket and gets tripped unceremoniously from behind as his reward. Dangerous free-kick to the hosts …
46 min: Nasri clips in a cross from the left, Dzeko meets it and should probably do better than guide it straight into the meaty palms of Roman Weidenfeller.
Half No2 gets underway and Dortmund have made a change. Reus gets a rest and on in his stead comes the rather-less-easy-to-type-in-a-rush Blaszczykowski.
"As a former resident of Minnesota, I have to say: that is not a blizzard," roars Marie Meyer. "The flakes are coming straight down. That is simply snow. When they start moving diagonally and progress on to horizontal - THEN you've got a blizzard."
"Just got in to catch the last ten minutes of the half," writes Sam Blanning. "Perhaps you could perform a public service by pointing out that the snooker is on the BBC red button. Even if you're an adrenaline junkie who finds snooker the most tedious sport in the world, it's still going to entertain you more than watching City pretend they want to be in the Europa League for another 45 minutes."
"It may be that you British guys think Europa League is nothing," writes Jesper Bang-Udesen. Not me, Jesper, as I pointed out earlier but do carry on. "But on the continent it's quite a big thing. Last season's average attendance was 21,000 per match. That's the seventh highest average attendance for a football league in the world. Only beaten by the leagues in Germany, England, Spain, Italy, Mexico and the Champions League. So, England, get out and experience the world. You need it [WINKY-FACE EMOTICON REDACTED FOR REASONS OF DECENCY]."
And to no one's great disappointment, referee Milorad Mazic brings a scratchy half to a close.
45 min: Real are doing their bit for City's European hopes – they're 2-0 up on Ajax.
44 min: Perisic whips a low curling effort at goal. Hart has to tumble to his left to save, but it's comfortable enough.
42 min: Tevez is dropping increasingly deep – if I was trying to sound clever I'd say he's dropped back from his trequartista role into more of a regista role, but then I'd have to go and down a pint of Bovril just to balance things out.
41 min: This is a lull (but it won't hurt you).
38 min: Maicon flicks in a decent cross on this occasion and a free Tevez forces Weidenfeller into an excellent save with a near post header. The linesman's flag, though, pushes pulses back down to normal – the City man was narrowly offside.
36 min: City get themselves carved apart like a Christmas turkey. First Schmelzer lines up a shot from the edge of the box, then it breaks loose to Reus who cuts inside with all the cool assurance of the Fonz in a freezer and sends in a fierce shot that scrapes Hart's fingertips and clips the outside of the post.
34 min: The home side can't fully clear the corner and Sinclair sends in a cross that begs to be attacked so much it's essentially masochistic. The only forehead on the end of it, though, belongs to Mats Hummels.
32 min: Tevez drops deep and sparks a City attack down the right, but Nasri's pass into the middle is far too dainty. Still City are on the attack though and Dzeko forces Weidenfeller into a sprawling save with a drive from 25 yards.
30 min: "They're playing again in Zagreb," reports Paul Ruffley. "Orange ball and 'bordering on farcical' - excellent stuff." I bet they've swept the lines so that the pitch looks all inverted. How can this game compete with that?
28 min: Maicon is mullered by Perisic on the left, leaving Javi Garcia to tidy up. He's always playing catch up with the Dortmund man and can only bundle him over like an old sofa cushion. Garcia goes into the book, which means he'll miss their first Europa League game if they get there. The way he's played tonight, that'll be no bad thing.
26 min: The corner came to nothing, by the way. But then Dortmund show signs of life. Reus is doing the conducting, playing neat one touch stuff and finding Leitner, whose cross just evades Schieber.
25 min: This is very neat from City, comfortably their best moment of the game. Nasri clips a perfect pass down the left channel for Dzeko who has walked the offside tightrope like Philippe Petit. His low cross is almost spot on for Tevez, but the Dortmund defender gets a stud to the pass and diverts it away for a corner.
24 min: Here's the latest scene in Zagreb. Match delayed due to … massive blizzard.
22 min: Maicon sweeps in a cross but can't lift it beyond the first man.
21 min: Reus hops and pops past two City players like a chip sent into a deep fat fryer. But the third defender makes the challenge.
19 min: Quick feet from the teenage Leitner almost sees him scuttering away towards the City back four. Nothing comes of it, but if I don't mention very minor incidents like that then there'd be very little to say. City are having the bulk of possession but the home side are busy, organised and quick to press. There's an element of cancelling out at the moment.
17 min: Nasri looks to slide in Tevez but Schmelzer is alive to the danger and sweeps up neatly behind his central defenders.
15 min: Another loose pass from Garcia, this one a lofted cross-field ball towards the right that falls a good five yards short of his intended target.
13 min: For those feeling a little chilly wherever they've been watching football recently, take a look at the scene in Zagreb ahead of kick-off tonight.
11 min: Kirch is given space on the edge of the box and the 30-year-old full-back, making his first Champions League start, forces Hart to make a clutching save at head height.
10 min: Kompany lumps a long ball out of play. A very slow start, would be a nice way of putting the opening 10 minutes here. Ruddy awful would be a more accurate summation.
8 min: A loose pass from Garcia – who has had a largely unimpressive start to life at City – goes out of play a good two yards away from the left-back Nastasic, the intended recipient.
6 min: Or pretty much anything here. Dortmund get their collective foot on the ball for the first time, but it's safe to say there's not a great deal of urgency from the home side thus far.
4 min: A bit scrappy here in the opening exchanges. Which gives me a chance to ask whether anyone has spotted any fantastic football Christmas gift ideas this year? I'm still hoping for an AEK Athens etch-a-sketch.
2 min: … nodded clear by a Dortmund bonce.
1 min: Tevez and Nasri exchange passes on the right and the Argentine is bundled over 40 yards out. Barry swings in the free-kick and Grosskreutz nods behind for a corner …
City, in their home strip, gets things underway.
Out come the teams at the Westfalenstadion
A win puts them into the Europa League unless Ajax surprise Real Madrid. You can follow the live Champions League tables here.
It's been nice to see Mancini pay a bit of respect for the poor old Uefa Cup. It's a venerable old competition, a home for tired giants and grand names washed away by the flood tide of cash, that has taken such a kicking from the modern game – a kicking that may see it hoofed all the way out of existence – and it'd be easy for the City manager to be ambivalent about it. But he's played it up rather than talked it down and that's nice to see. Not that he has much choice in truth – it is, after all, a best-case scenario for City.
"I think that it's important for many reasons this game."
Also for those needing something restorative …
Dortmund (4-3-2-1): Weidenfeller; Kirch, Hummels, Santana, Schmelzer; Grosskreutz, Gundogan, Leitner; Reus, Perisic; Schleber. Subs: Langerak, Lewandowski, Blaszczykowski, Piszczek, Amini, Gunter, Bittencourt
Man City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Maicon, Kompany, Lescott, Nastasic; Garcia, Barry; Nasri, Tevez, Sinclair; Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Aguero, Nimely, Balotelli, Meppen Walters, Evans.
So there's a rare start for Scott Sinclair for the away side. For Dortmund, the Polish typo-trio of Lewandowski, Blaszczykowski, Piszczek are on the bench.
You see, I'm addled.
Utterly befuddled by cold though I am (and I really am – my head's so fuzzy I can see through time) this remains a fixture to relish. Can City save some face, avoid becoming the worst English Champions League side since 1995-96 and line up some Thursday night Europa League action? Or will Dortmund mercilessly swat them aside as they could so easily have done at the Etihad? All the Lemsips in the world wouldn't have the same restorative effect as a 5-4 thriller this evening.