Borussia Dortmund drew 0-0 with already-qualified Manchester City on Tuesday to book their spot in the Champions League knockout stage with a game to spare.
The result made sure that City, who missed a second-half penalty and are on 11 points, will top Group G while Dortmund, on eight, punched the second qualifying ticket, locking down second spot ahead of third-placed Sevilla, who have five points.
“We played much better in the second half. In the first half we conceded some balls and lost some counter-attacks,” said City coach Pep Guardiola.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve missed 24 or 25 penalties – it’s too many. You always have to admire the courage, but missing so many penalties is a problem. We have to improve.
“It comes down to fine margins in this competition and these situations can make the difference,” he added.
The Germans, needing a point to advance, got off to a strong start with Karim Adeyemi causing major problems with his speed down the right wing.
The Germany international had a first effort on goal early, testing City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega in his first appearance.
Gio Reyna came closer in the 25th minute with a low shot but it was the unmarked Youssoufa Moukoko who should have scored a little later but instead sidefooted their best chance wide from six metres.
In an unremarkable return to Dortmund where he had scored 86 goals in 89 matches until his departure in June, City top scorer Erling Haaland was completely shut out by defender Mats Hummels in the first half.
The English champions failed to get a single effort on target and the Norwegian was taken off at halftime.
“Erling had a little bit of fever before the game, Joao Cancelo too. They were tired, so we made changes,” Guardiola said.
They could have snatched the lead when Riyad Mahrez was brought down in the box.
The Algerian, who had also missed a spot kick on the previous matchday against FC Copenhagen, was beaten by Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel, who picked the right corner to palm away his shot.
Kobel also did well to stop Julian Alvarez’s shot in the 67th minute in what turned out to be City’s first and only chance from open play.
“We finally rewarded ourselves against City with the point today,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic. “We played a really good first half. I have seldom seen a City game where they had so few chances.” Sevilla, third on five points, will continue in the Europa League after beating 10-man Copenhagen 3-0 earlier on Tuesday