Football NewsBorussia Dortmund Beats Newcastle As Qualification Hopes Fade
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A stretched Newcastle were well beaten by Dortmund to leave their hopes of qualification for the knockout stages in serious jeopardy.

Two weeks after losing 1-0 to the Bundesliga side on Tyneside, a Magpies side missing seven first-team players were well beaten by their hosts, who opened the scoring midway through the first half thanks to Niclas Fullkrug’s close range finish.

Newcastle has gradually built their squad since the Saudi money came in. While dreams of Kylian Mbappe are nice – although not the Kylian Mbappe who played at St James’ Park this season – they’ve gone about it the right way.

There is a noticeable lack of depth though, for now. That was laid bare as seven first-team players were absent from the squad to take on Dortmund, with Alexander Isak, Dan Burn, Elliot Anderson, Harvey Barnes, Matt Targett and Sven Botman all injured, and Sandro Tonali banned of course.

That meant that while you can name 12 substitutes in the Champions League, Eddie Howe could only list eight, among them two goalkeepers and three youngsters in the forms of Lucas De Bolle, Lewis Miley and Ben Parkinson, with the latter pair 17 and 18 respectively.

Perennial Champions League qualifiers Atletico Madrid have long been seen as something of an inspiration for Howe’s Newcastle, right down to Diego Simeone’s love of the dark arts.

And while Atletico’s best teams have always been built on their solidity, they have also always had a potency in attack, and forwards of the quality of Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa, Diego Forlan, Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata around to take chances.

With Isak out and Callum Wilson forced off at half-time here Newcastle simply didn’t have that, a fact summed up by Joelinton’s second half miss when he looked primed to score – a moment which reminded us of the Brazilian’s tough days as the Magpies’ No.9.

So top level European football in the New Year is beginning to look quite unlikely for Newcastle. But the Europa League could still be on.

They’ll need to get through PSG away next without too much damage. But if the final group stage game at home to AC Milan simply becomes a playoff for a spot in the second tier competition then that will be quite an occasion.

Newcastle will fancy themselves in that tournament, where a meeting with a Premier League rival could be on.