Newcastle faced a “Choose your own adventure” type of challenge on Tuesday and Eddie Howe and the boys determined they wanted to explore the hardest route toward staying active across Europe.
The two options: win and start to wrap up qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds, or lose and start waving goodbye to Europe. They picked the latter dropping Tuesday’s matchup at Borussia Dortmund by a final score of 2-0, handing the hosts their qualification for the Round of 16 on a golden platter.
The German side’s forward Niclas Fullkrug secured his first Champions League goal and that was complemented by Julian Brandt’s own score, marking Dortmund’s second consecutive win over the Premier League team in back-to-back Champions League affairs.
The two losses are going to make it a nearly impossible task for NUFC to qualify for the next UCL round, and they might even fall off the European picture entirely following Milan’s victory over PSG later on Tuesday.
With Dortmund now topping Group F with seven points, one ahead of Paris Saint-Germain (beaten 2-1 defeat at AC Milan), Newcastle finds themselves with four points and two matches remaining, trailing everybody including Milan with five points.
Dortmund dominated a Magpies squad missing more than one, more than two, more than seven players due to injury and suspension, with Brandt and Karim Adeyemi creating constant problems for Newcastle’s defense from the get-go.
Fullkrug broke the deadlock in the 26th minute, capitalizing on Marcel Sabitzer’s precise cross. Despite Newcastle’s efforts and missed opportunities to clear the ball, Dortmund maintained control of the game throughout and they cruised toward their second win of the season in as many games over the Black and White.
Brandt sealed the result in the 79th minute on a counterattack, initiated by Fullkrug and Adeyemi.
Newcastle had their best chance on a clear header missed by Joelinton, but that’s pretty much all of the trouble the Magpies caused on a Tuesday to forget in the middle of a season to remember that might go down the drain earlier than expected.
The lads face AFC Bournemouth, Howe’s former club, on Saturday in a never-relenting schedule packed full of games—until mid-December but probably not beyond that if the Magpies cannot pull off a miracle in their remaining two Champions League matches.