Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund both booked passage into the round of 16 of the 2022-23 Champions League after Pep Guardiola’s men traveled to the Ruhr valley in North Rhine-Westphalia and came away with a 0-0 draw against Edin Terzić's Bundesliga troops.
On a night that could have so easily been defined by the return of Norwegian star Erling Haaland to his old stomping grounds at Signal Iduna Park, the goalscoring machine only received 45-minutes of action before being removed at the halftime interval and was unable to add to his incredible goal tally this season since his summer arrival at the Etihad Stadium.
As usual, City was dominant when in possession while seeing 72.2% of the ball on the night, but it was Dortmund that crafted the most chances in front of the famous - and infamous - südtribüne but still can consider themselves lucky to come away with any points on the night due to one key moment above all.
Summer acquisition Gregor Kobel pulled off a stunning save on Riyad Mahrez’s effort from the penalty spot that kept matters all square at nil-nil in the 57th minute.
But despite crafting more shots overall, Dortmund was unable to test Stefan Ortega on a small handful of occasions after the 29-year-old former Arminia Bielefeld standout shot-stopper made his competitive debut for City.
Dortmund spurned the best chance on the night overall, however, after German youngster, Yousouffa Moukoko scuffed his effort wide of the far post after Karim Adeyemi was put through down the right-hand side before squaring across goal for the teenage striker.
Other chances fell once again to Moukoko and Adeyemi as well as Gio Reyna but were unable to find the back of the net and probably will feel a bit hard done due to poor conviction in front of goal.
Still, neither side can complain too much after securing passage into the knockout stage, but the question surrounding Guardiola and the current Premier League holders will be whether or not they will finally be able to capture the one major honor that has continued to elude them since the club lept to billionaire-backed status.
Borussia Dortmund Player Ratings
GK: Gregor Kobel (8)
RCB: Niklas Süle (6.5)
CB: Mats Hummels (7)
LCB: Nico Schlotterbeck (7)
RM: Karim Adeyemi (6.5)
CM: Jude Bellingham (6.5)
CM: Emre Can (6)
LM: Gio Reyna (6.5)
RAM: Julian Brandt (6.5)
LAM: Thorgan Hazard (6.5)
CF: Youssoufa Moukoko (6)
Sub: Donyell Malen (6)
Sub: Marius Wolf (6)
Sub: Anthony Modeste (6)
Sub: Antonios Papadopoulos (6)
Manchester City Player Ratings
GK: Stefan Ortega (7) - Ortega made his competitive debut tonight after his summer arrival from Arminia Bielefeld and performed admirably in goal when called upon.
RB: João Cancelo (7) - Despite picking up a yellow card in the first half, João Cancelo was good on the night once again for Man City but was only given 45-minutes due to upcoming PL commitments.
CB: John Stones (6) - A sub-par night for Stones after Dortmund were able to utilize the space in behind the defense, and in particular, most of their chances came from his side of the back line.
CB: Rúben Dias (7) - The Portuguese international once again put in a good performance in the heart of the defense overall and can stand tall despite Dortmund crafting a few guilt-edged chances.
LB: Nathan Ake (6.5) - Ake had a performance that was difficult to judge. On the one hand, he himself performed well enough, but his tactical tasking on the night left plenty of space for Adeyemi to exploit at times. But overall he was decent enough.
DM: Rodri (7) - Strong outing again from the Spanish international who continues to prove how vital he is for City in that holding midfield role. The chances Dortmund managed were hardly down to him.
CM: Riyad Mahrez (6) - Another miss from the penalty spot for Riyad Mahrez directly stripped City’s chances of securing all three points on their travels to the Ruhr valley, damaging what was a decent outing from him.
CM: Ilkay Gündogan (7) - City may have struggled to find goals tonight but their ability to command and control possession remained in tact, with the German veteran a vital piece of that puzzle.
RW: Julián Álvarez (6) - Given more chances in recent weeks, the Argentine youngster struggled to make a considerable impact on the night and though his rating reflects it, its more to do with City struggling to be as effective as they usually are.
LW: Phil Foden (7) - A good night out for the England star though he was unable to provide the goods as part of the forward line called upon tonight by Pep Guardiola. Faired better than Haaland, at least.
CF: Erling Haaland (5.5) - The Norwegian goal machine was unable to add to his Champions League tally on his return to the Ruhr valley against his former employers in what was a frustrating 45-minutes of action for the City striker.
Sub: Manuel Akanji (6) - Brought off the bench to replace Cancelo, who is sure to start at the weekend, the Swiss international was nothing more than average despite coming on strong since his arrival at the club.
sub: Bernardo Silva (6) - An uncharacteristic ineffective evening from the Portuguese creator who was unable to apply the final percentage points in City’s possession dominance to help crack Dortmund’s defense.
Sub: Jack Grealish(6) - Whether he is called upon to start or come off the bench, Grealish fails to consistently - if at all - hit the same level of performance that saw him star at boyhood club Aston Villa.
Sub: Cole Palmer (N/A) - Does not receive a match rating tonight after being brought on for the final two minutes before stoppage time.