City’s latest Uefa Champions League campaign is off and running.
So how fitting that four times Olympic gold medal winner Michael Johnson was in the crowd to watch.
Johnson, a familiar face to a new generation of Athletics fans through his television work with the BBC, may not have been impressed with the Blues speed out of the blocks but there was no mistaking the power packed dip for the tape.
Mario Balotelli’s coolly struck 89th minute spot kick rescued a valuable point. There cannot be a better penalty taker in football.
City chief Roberto Mancini had pinpointed ‘home rule’ as the best way to reach the UCL knockout stages following last year’s failure to progress in the competition but this was not the perfect start.
Dortmund are a young and vital side used to getting their way on the pitch in the Bundesliga, they arrived in Manchester fresh from an opening day UCL win over Ajax and from a 5-0 victory in their domestic competition.
Backed by a noisy, co-ordinated and vibrant following of close to 3,000 they were a stern test for a City side whose form had been patchy and who were under some pressure to put points on the board following the late capitulation in the Bernabeu where they led Madrid’s finest 2-1 with five minutes to go before losing 3-2.
The first half was terrific and notable for a goalkeeping master class subtitled ‘Hart versus Gotze’ and ‘Weidenfeller versus Aguero’.
Defence was not on the agenda as these two sides went at each other as if without a care in the world. You attack then we attack was hugely entertaining for the crowd.
Three times Weidenfeller denied Aguero, twice with his legs in a one on one confrontations and once with his fingertips.
Not to be outdone Hart flicked one Gotze effort against the post, denied him with brave and agile blocks and then tipped a drive on to the bar.
There were other chances too with Gundogan missing a great opportunity for Dortmund whilst David Silva somehow lifted a gift of a chance over the bar from around four yards.
When matters resumed after the break there was little change in the main players. Hart was soon back in action showing his England class to deny Gotze again. No wonder the Dortmund number ten looked frustrated.
That all changed in the 62nd minute when Jack Rodwell didn’t look before attempting a pass that was collected by Marcos Reus – even superman Hart couldn’t prevent it entering the net. Normal service was resumed in the 66th minute when Hart was brilliant in keeping out Gundogan’s curler.
Dortmund ought to have made it 2-0 in the 76th minute when Lewandowski sliced wide from the penalty spot when unattended.
The Blues then thought they had levelled four minutes from time when Aguero’s header was saved by Weidenfeller but they did so for real in the final minute of normal time when Subotic was harshly adjudged to have handled and Mario Balotelli – who else – rolled home the penalty.
A point was better than nothing but there can be no more slip ups if a top two place is to be secured and Mancini will be eyeing six points from the next two clashes with Ajax.