While many around the Etihad would have been expecting a far more routine performance on Wednesday night, Manchester City did manage to claim back-to-back Champions League victories.
Mounting another trademark Etihad comeback in the final 10 minutes, a quickfire brace from John Stones and the red-hot Erling Haaland helped the Premier League giants claim a hard-fought 2-1 win.
Left stunned after England international Jude Bellingham opened the scoring minutes after the restart, Pep Guardiola would have certainly been impressed by the resolve that his side showed here.
Eventually finding a way to build off of their thumping 4-0 romp away at Sevilla when opening their European adventure last week, what did we learn from Wednesday’s showdown in Manchester?
Haaland will break all of the records
Making the move from Borussia Dortmund this summer after Manchester City activated his £51.5million release clause, all eyes have firmly been on Haaland since arriving in England.
Setting Europe alight during his time in rural Germany after bagging 86 goals in 89 games for BVB, there is no doubt that the Norwegian talisman has cemented his place as one of world football’s most coveted strikers.
Opening his Champions League account last week as the 22-year-old bagged a brace in City’s 4-0 victory away at Sevilla, it appears that the ex-Dortmund star is going to shatter all domestic and European records.
Producing a moment of brilliance on Wednesday night as his acrobatic volley left his former teammates heartbroken, Haaland has only continued to gain a fearsome reputation from across Europe.
In fact, his midweek goal here was his 13th of the season and his 26th in just 21 Champions League appearances.
Laying down yet another marker and spearheading a Manchester City side that have their sights set on making real history this year, can anyone stop Haaland this season?
Bellingham is already a superstar
While he might have once again found himself on the wrong end of a third conductive 2-1 loss at the hands of Man City here, Bellingham once again underlined why he is one of Europe’s most exciting young prospects.
Opening the scoring here just 11 minutes after the half-time break and putting in a Man of the Match display on Wednesday night, the one-time Birmingham starlet finds his stock at an all-time high.
Now finding the net in both of Dortmund’s opening Champions League appearances, Bellingham has also been tipped to play a key role in England’s World Cup adventure later in the year.
Still just 19 years of age, it is no surprise that the 15-cap international remains heavily linked with a host of European heavyweights.
While Bellingham might have made the decision to extend his stay in rural Germany by another season, it has been suggested that the likes of Real Madrid could be keen on breaking the bank when the window reopens in January.
Receiving praise from across the footballing world here, it is believed that Dortmund could demand in the region of £100million for their midfield talisman.
Manchester City can go all the way
Although Manchester City might not have been at their free-flowing best for large spells on Wednesday night, Guardiola’s men are still tipped as a leading contender this time around.
Left heartbroken out in Madrid last season as they eventually fell to a remarkable 6-5 aggregate defeat in the Spanish capital, the Sky Blues are desperate to go one step further.
While the former Barcelona boss might have seen his star-studded squad win four of the previous five Premier League titles, a first European success still eludes them.
However, opening their Champions League run with a thumping 4-0 victory away at Sevilla last week, the English giants should quietly fancy their chances of making history this season.
Already with one foot in the knockout stage of this year’s tournament and with their new attacking icon only continuing to break both domestic and European records by the week, Guardiola will know that stability is key.
Manchester City: Ederson, Stones, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish
Subs: Silva, Phillips, Alvarez, Foden
Borussia Dortmund: Meyer, Meunier, Sule, Hummels, Guerreiro, Bellingham, Can, Ozcan, Reyna, Modeste, Reus
Subs: Malen, Moukoko, Adeyemi, Schlotterbeck
Goals: Manchester City: Stones (80′), Haaland (84′) – Borussia Dortmund: Bellingham (56′)
Yellow Cards: Manchester City: Rodri, Foden – Borussia Dortmund: Malen, Ozcan
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Daniele Orsato
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