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Newcastle United had to wait two decades before playing in the Champions League once again. It seems unlikely that they will have to wait another 20 years to return, but their current journey may end prematurely. After suffering two losses to Borussia Dortmund, the team that defeated Paris Saint-Germain, Newcastle’s chances of advancing may be in jeopardy. They may become one of the casualties of the “group of death,” making this game their ultimate challenge and potentially too difficult to overcome.
Despite defeating Manchester United and Arsenal with weakened lineups, they were unable to achieve a treble. An Englishman, Harry Kane, was responsible for dismantling Dortmund in Der Klassiker, but not against an English club. Newcastle faced greater difficulty at the Signal Iduna Park compared to Bayern Munich. If Newcastle is known as a club that spends money on players and Dortmund is known as a club that sells players, it may be particularly satisfying for the Bundesliga team to have two of their three goalscorers in the past 180 minutes come from Felix Nmecha, who was acquired when Jude Bellingham was sold, and Niclas Fullkrug, who could potentially be a replacement for Erling Haaland in their rematch.
This tournament has the potential to reward unexpected players, as demonstrated by Dan Burn and Sean Longstaff of Newcastle. However, they are not the only ones with heartwarming stories of rising from humble beginnings. Fullkrug, who is more used to scoring in the German second division, scored his first Champions League goal at the age of 30, adding to the two he scored in last year’s World Cup. Julian Brandt, the most skilled player on the field, sealed the victory on their home turf. After a disappointing loss to PSG in their first game, Dortmund has earned seven points in their last three games, with six of those points coming from their hard work against Newcastle.
They shaded the first match and, while Howe’s men can rue the glorious chance Joelinton missed to level, were superior in the second. If Newcastle’s casualty list has suggested it should often have been a fine time to face them of late, Dortmund ensured it actually was.
The Yellow Wall was a wall of loud sounds and the Dortmund strategies that Newcastle may be familiar with: they can aim for a similar wholehearted effort, but it was Edin Terzic’s team who began with speed, displayed the relentless attitude that Newcastle strives for, wore down their opponents, and ultimately scored a goal through counter-attacking. Manchester United, who rarely use a 4-5-1 formation, may have given their opponents the upper hand. Howe began the game with the tired duo of Anthony Gordon and Miguel Almiron on the bench, and Newcastle felt the absence of their energy. Their original front three included a player playing out of position, Joelinton as a midfielder, and a defender, Tino Livramento.
Dortmund had a successful record. Brandt frequently initiated plays, Karim Adeyemi was the speedy runner, and Fullkrug was the strong attacker. Each player made a significant contribution. The first goal resulted from a play involving Marcel Sabitzer and Fullkrug, with the Austrian ultimately crossing the ball for the striker to score into the top of the goal.
The game-changing moment came from a quick counterattack. It could be seen as a change of roles, as Adeyemi provided the decisive pass from his own penalty area and Brandt made a run to receive it. However, Livramento was left alone against two opposing players. Instead of passing, Brandt decided to take the shot and scored against Nick Pope.
The goalie was trying to minimize the damage by making saves against Fullkrug and Adeyemi. However, Fullkrug eventually scored the first goal, with Adeyemi and Brandt teaming up afterwards. Despite his efforts, the concern is that the goalie has been the top performer for Newcastle in three out of four Champions League games.
During the first half, the only danger posed by the team’s offense was from Kieran Trippier’s set-piece plays. The first 45 minutes were a difficult debut in the Champions League for Lewis Hall. The young player appeared inexperienced when he received a yellow card for pulling back Fullkrug. He was substituted at halftime, with Almiron taking his place and Livramento moving back to right-back. In his preferred position, Livramento delivered a tempting cross that Joelinton unfortunately missed with a header.
Aside from that, they didn’t have enough strength to defeat a skilled goalkeeper like Gregor Kobel. They may question whether things would have turned out differently if they had access to players like Alexander Isak, Sandro Tonali, and Sven Botman, who were specifically bought for these types of situations. It’s worth noting that their bench consisted of only eight players, including two goalkeepers and three inexperienced players. While Dortmund substituted in Marco Reus, Newcastle brought on 17-year-old Lewis Miley.
Their lineup did not fully justify the title of being the world’s wealthiest club. They were faced with limited resources and their makeshift team was outmatched.
They are currently heading to Paris, where they may face a game that could dash their chances of advancing, even before their highly anticipated match against AC Milan at the end of the group stage. This could result in a disappointing end for Newcastle.