Borussia Dortmund 2 Newcastle 0: Eddie Howe’s huge gamble backfires as injury-hit Toon left on the brink of exit

JUST over a month on from battering PSG, Newcastle’s Champions League adventure is in serious danger of ending in a damp squib.

And to think it was just a fortnight ago that Geordie icon Kevin Keegan said with a straight face that the Magpies could lift the trophy.

GettyNiclas Fullkrug fires Dortmund into the lead[/caption]

EPAFullkrug celebrates his opener[/caption]

Well, they will now almost certainly have to beat PSG in their backyard to stand a chance of reaching the knockouts.

Two defeats on the bounce to Borussia Dortmund show Toon are a still a long way off really mixing it with the European giants.

It could have all been so different if Joelinton didn’t nod an absolute sitter wide at 1-0.

But Newcastle didn’t look like a Champions League outfit for the most part, and they’ll now need a minor miracle if they want to remain one after Christmas.

Their demolition of PSG showed they can handle anyone at St James’ Park.

Yet on the road, on the biggest stages, and they are way off it.

Niclas Fullkrug and Julian Brandt saw them off and while Eddie Howe‘s squad is down to its bare bones, they did themselves no  favours here.

Howe has barely put a foot wrong in two years at the helm but starting youngster Lewis Hall and benching first-choice wingers Miguel Almiron and Anthony Gordon has to go down as one.

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Julain Brandt fires home Dortmund’s secondRex

PABrandt is congratulated for his clincher[/caption]

With only 13 available outfield players due to an ever worsening injury crisis, Howe could only name eight subs instead of 11.

Two of those were keepers while two more were kids who have never featured for the Magpies. 

Dortmund, the only side to beat the Magpies in the last 12, did a job on them at St James’ Park. 

The Germans were Harry Kane-d by Bayern Munich last weekend but, shooting towards the bouncing Yellow Wall in the first half, they were all over Newcastle early on. 

Nick Pope denied Fullkrug and Karim Adeyemi, with the latter – an old school bruiser of a centre-forward – causing the defence no end of problems. 

But just when it looked like Newcastle had weathered the storm and were growing into it, Fullkrug struck. 

Teenage left-back Hall was already having a rough ride and he was at fault for the opener as he failed to deal with it in the box, allowing Marcel Sabitzer to get on the ball and square for the striker to bury. 

Newcastle had moments in the first half, yet they were too few. 

ReutersThe match was momentarily delayed by a fan protest[/caption]

GettyEddie Howe’s side endured a difficult night in Germany[/caption]

Kieran Trippier‘s low cross from a smart routine corner just behind the lurking Callum Wilson was as good as it got. 

On top of Hall having a stinker, Trippier couldn’t stop giving it away, Jamaal Lascelles looked shaky in the heart of defence, Joe Willock was off the boil, Joelinton was ineffective on the left wing, and Wilson was isolated on his own up top.

Changes were needed to keep their Champions League dreams alive, and Howe hooked Hall and Wilson for Almiron at the break.

And within minutes of the restart the Mags had one of their most promising openings when Fabian Schar played a beautiful ball over the top to the onrushing Tino Livramento.

While it didn’t lead to anything, hope was restored for the travelling Toon Army.

And they really should  have levelled up soon after when Livramento delivered a wicked cross from the right.

It was the perfect ball, requiring the simplest of headers – but Joelinton somehow nodded wide from four yards.

With his head in his hands, Howe knew that was THE chance. 

The odds were stacked against them creating anything better as the clock ticked on.

The locals were starting to worry as Newcastle started to dominate.

You could feel the tension inside the Westfalenstadion as Trippier lined up a free-kick from the left touchline with 12 minutes remaining.

But the England right-back’s delivery was woeful, headed clear at the front post, and it was game over seconds later. 

Dortmund broke at breakneck speed with Julian Brandt taking it on and on before firing off his left peg past Pope into the bottom corner.

PADortmund have done the double over Newcastle despite their Saudi billions[/caption]

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