This was the dampest of damp nights on Tyneside, with a torrential cloudburst delivering a freezing chilly bathe throughout Newcastle United’s Champions League aspirations.
The Toon Military rolled up from town centre into St James’ Park fuelled by the elation of a nice begin in hazardous Group F, a draw towards AC Milan in San Siro adopted by a spectacular win over Paris St-Germain that represented an exhilarating homecoming after 20 years away from the event.
Feelings have been in sharp distinction right here on Wednesday evening although, as Newcastle’s gamers and followers trooped away on the remaining whistle rain-sodden, bedraggled and crushed after Borussia Dortmund gave them a lesson within the harsh realities of the Champions League.
Newcastle supervisor Eddie Howe has no have to panic after one loss – that will be ridiculous – however there isn’t any doubt life has all of a sudden acquired an entire lot tougher. The optimism that was rampant when PSG and Kylian Mbappe have been despatched packing in that 4-1 thrashing has been changed by an actual sense of jeopardy.
The sensible cash would nonetheless be on PSG successful the group, regardless of the defeat at Newcastle, so it’s a bitter setback that Newcastle misplaced to Borussia Dortmund, growing the importance of their assembly in Germany on 7 November.
Newcastle didn’t play badly towards the Germans they usually can look again on missed alternatives, particularly when Anthony Gordon was thwarted twice by Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel within the first half.
They got here even nearer after the break when Kobel blocked an effort from substitute Callum Wilson – a first-half substitute for the injured Alexander Isak – with the England striker then hitting the bar with a header earlier than Gordon’s shot was deflected on to the woodwork with seconds left.
For all this, the Bundesliga facet had alternatives of their very own, particularly when Nick Pope made an impressive double save from Donyell Malen and Niclas Fullkrug within the first half when each appeared sure to attain.
There was all the time a way that Dortmund simply had a bit an excessive amount of nous for Newcastle. It is a membership that has been across the Champions League block many extra occasions than Howe’s facet, who’re rookies at this degree – and it confirmed.
The German staff is probably not fairly working on the rarefied degree they’ve previously relating to the Champions League, however in individuals like Mats Hummels and Marco Reus they’ve people with many miles on the clock and have been a bit extra street-wise than Newcastle.
‘Actuality examine’ was the phrase on many lips.
Newcastle couldn’t recapture the depth that proved an excessive amount of for PSG. The snap was not there in a recreation performed out in a deluge for essentially the most half.
Certainly, it was the guests who began extra rapidly, clearly decided to place a marker down that they might not be unnerved or cowed by a spectacular pre-match show of flags and a wall of noise inside St James’ Park.
They play in a particular ambiance of their very own at Sign Iduna Park, and this very important victory was performed out to a continuous soundtrack of singing from the colorful travelling followers.
Edin Terzic’s facet had threatened earlier than the decisive second on the stroke of half-time when Felix Nmecha – who was linked with Newcastle in the summertime – steered a composed right-foot end previous Pope after nice work by Nico Schlotterbeck.
Newcastle have been additionally disrupted by an early recurrence of Isak’s groin harm whereas an try and inject recent impetus within the form of Jacob Murphy midway by way of the second half lasted solely 5 minutes earlier than he went off with a shoulder injury.
This was merely not Newcastle’s evening.
Newcastle will hope they don’t look again on it as an enormous alternative missed, as a result of a win right here would have put them in prime place to achieve the final 16 – however they have been wanting their finest and paid the worth.
Sandro Tonali made a 25-minute cameo and followers can be questioning if it is likely to be his remaining look for fairly a while, with the membership fearing an extended ban for alleged breaches of Italian betting rules. There was the sniff of a narrative and a farewell contribution when he got here on to a really heat reception, but it surely was to not be.
For all of the frantic finale that just about noticed Newcastle snatch a treasured level, this was an evening that fell flat after the zeal of the victory towards PSG.
It was a moist squib for almost all at St James’ Park, the agony after the Champions League ecstasy of the earlier recreation. There’s, although, one other chapter on this story in two weeks’ time.