THE NOTEBOOK: Former England youth star steals the show, Newcastle fans say goodbye to Sandro Tonali for now, while Les Ferdinand tips Eddie Howe’s side to top the Class of 1996
- Newcastle were beaten 1-0 by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League
- Former England youth star and now-Germany international Felix Nmecha scored
- Follow Mail Sport’s new Champions League WhatsApp channel for all the breaking news
Newcastle suffered a first defeat of their Champions League campaign as they went down 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund at St James’ Park.
Eddie Howe’s side had announced their return to Europe’s elite club competition with a draw against AC Milan and memorable 4-1 victory over PSG, but fell short on Tuesday night.
They were dealt an early blow after Alexander Isak limped off with a leg injury after just 15 minutes, before Felix Nmecha put Dortmund 1-0 up on the verge of half-time following a counter attack.
Newcastle huffed and puffed but the German side held firm to secure an important victory and leapfrog their opponents.
Mail Sport’s DAVID COVERDALE was at St James’ Park and looks at some things you might have missed from Tuesday’s match.
Newcastle suffered a 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday
Former England youth star steals the show
With six English players in Newcastle’s starting XI, and a seventh – Callum Wilson – coming on as a 15th-minute sub – it was a wonder Gareth Southgate was not at St James’ Park.
The Three Lions boss also missed the chance to check-in on Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, the 19-year-old England Under-21 winger, who was on Dortmund’s bench.
However, it was a player who got away from Southgate who made the biggest impression on Wednesday night.
Born in Hamburg but raised in Manchester, midfielder Felix Nmecha featured for England at U16, U17 and U19 level before making his senior international debut for Germany in March.
And he showed the Three Lions what they are missing with a fine first-half goal, which had shades of the Englishman he replaced at Dortmund in the summer, Jude Bellingham.
Former England youth star and now-Germany international Felix Nmecha scored the winner
Newcastle fans say goodbye to Tonali… for now
Having started Newcastle’s previous two Champions League games, Sandro Tonali was only introduced after 65 minutes ahead of his expected 10-month ban for illegal betting.
The Toon Army loudly sang the name of their £52million Italian midfielder when he replaced Sean Longstaff, just like they did when he came on against Crystal Palace last weekend.
However, those fans are now unlikely to see Tonali again this season with his lengthy suspension expected to be confirmed on Thursday.
Sandro Tonali came off the bench ahead of his expected 10-month ban for illegal betting
Geordie’s away-day blunder
It is only two weeks until these teams meet again in Dortmund. Only one red-faced Toon fan thought that away match was last night.
Hapless supporter Paul Draper made the trip to Germany and posted pictures of himself smiling outside Signal Induna Park on social media on Wednesday before realising his monumental mistake. ‘Yeah let’s go to Dortmund and watch them play Newcastle, great idea,’ he wrote on Facebook. ‘Shame it’s at St James’ Park!’
More unsavoury scenes between supporters
Newcastle’s Champions League return has not been without its troubles off the pitch.
There were unsavoury scenes on Wednesday night when Dortmund fans were escorted from the city centre to St James’ Park by police, with punches and bottles thrown between the two sets of supporters. It follows a similar skirmish when Paris Saint-Germain played here three weeks ago. When Newcastle visited AC Milan last month, one Toon fan was stabbed by a group of knife-wielding locals the night before the game.
Les tips Eddie to top the Class of 96
Les Ferdinand believes Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side will surpass Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers in Geordie legend.
The former striker was part of the Toon team who finished second in the Premier League under Keegan – who Howe met for the first time this week – in 1996.
But speaking at St James’ Park in his role as a TNT Sports pundit, Ferdinand said: ‘When I played here they called us the Entertainers and I think the guys here now will overtake that.
‘This group of players now will give them something else to talk about. People want to watch them because it’s exciting with all the goals they are scoring.’
Ex-Newcastle favourite Les Ferdinand (right – working pitchside for TNT Sports) believes Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side will surpass Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers in Geordie legend
German press made to feel at home
Members of the German press were made to feel at home at St James’ Park with Bratwurst sausages served up in the media canteen. It follows the beef bourguignon that was on the menu when Paris Saint-Germain visited Tyneside three weeks ago.
Such thoughtful catering is a far cry from the days of former owner Mike Ashley, who once stopped all free food for journalists, leading to ex-player and coach Terry McDermott turning up with a big bag of baked goods from Greggs.
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