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Opposition Form Report: Dortmund, Roma, CSKA Bounce Back Midweek

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The Schwarzgelben get a much-needed boost in a tune-up game for the the Klassiker, while Newcastle knocks out Manchester City with the Citizens conceding another early goal.

Stuart Franklin

Bundesliga

FC St. Pauli (0-3) Borussia Dortmund

0-1 BVB: Ciro Immobile (33')
0-2 BVB: Marco Reus (44')
0-3 BVB: Shinji Kagawa (86')

Now that is more like it! Needing a confidence boost before the Klassiker, Dortmund displayed the power they have shown in the Champions League, dominating the midfield and weaving in the attacking area like a seamstress. The problem is that St. Pauli is not a good barometer for what Jürgen Klopp can do to fix Dortmund's Bundesliga scoring issues. With Lewandowski now in red, their presence in the penalty area has dropped dramatically, and they will have to find some other way to upset Bayern Munich in Allianz Arena.

Dortmund XI (4-3-1-2): Weidenfeller – Papastathopoulos, Subotić, Hummels, Durm – Mkhitaryan (Jojić 68'), Kehl, Großkreutz – Kagawa (Ramos 88') – Immobile, Reus (Bender 62')

UEFA Champions League

AS Roma (2-0) AS Cesena

1-0 Roma: Mattia Destro (8')
2-0 Roma: Daniele De Rossi (81')

It was a much more encouraging result for the Giallarossi, one that we have gotten used to. Destro's early opener certainly helped, and Cesena were more concerned about not conceding a second than scoring an equalizer. An interesting observation was where the numbers were going forward, with Gervinho, Destro, and Iturbe left to fend for themselves for the most part. Perhaps that was a tactic Rudi Garcia deployed because of the scoreline, or maybe the fact that Kéita and De Rossi were both on the field changed the responsibilities of everyone else. Roma kept a consistent pressure on, and De Rossi doubled the scoreline before the death.

AS Roma XI (4-3-3): Skorupski – Torosidis, Manolas, Astori (Yanga-Mbiwa 54'), Cole – Kéita, De Rossi, Pjanić – Gervinho, Destro, Iturbe (Florenzi 52')

Manchester City (0-2) Newcastle United

0-1 NUFC: Rolando Aarons (6')
0-2 NUFC: Moussa Sissoko (75')

For yet another match, Manchester City did not look up to the occasion against a side they should beat. Even though Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, and Edin Džeko did not play, Pellegrini fielded a side that should have performed better. The two-striker formation does not seem to be the correct formula right now, and the defense remains a huge question mark. City could simply just be picking their battles with four fronts to deal with, a perfectly justified approach given the  It is only the Capital One Cup, but having Newcastle beat City in their own ground for the first time in 12 years is not something to just brush aside.

Man City XI (4-4-2): Caballero – Sagna, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov – Milner, Touré (Jesús Navas 60'), Fernandinho, David Silva (Nasri 9') – Jovetić, Agüero

CSKA Moskva (2-0) Torpedo Moskva

1-0 CSKA: Konstantin Bazelyuk (16')
2-0 CSKA: Alan Dzagoev (39')

CSKA had complete control of a match for the first time in a while. Leonid Slutsky needed to play some of his regulars against top-tier Torpedo, but the chemistry between the players did not change all that much. Players that had lost their form, including Dzagoev, Kirill Nababkin and Zoran Tošić rekindled a bit what made them top choices, and the 21-year-old Russian ruby Bazelyuk held his own at the top of Slutsky's fast-forwarding attack. The tests will only increase in this part of the fixture list, and they will have to prove that they are viable not only in the Champions League, but in the Russian League as well.

CSKA XI (4-2-3-1): Chepchugov – Mário Fernandes, V. Berezutski, Chernov, Nababkin – Wernbloom, Dzagoev – Tošić, Efremov, Milanov – Bazelyuk