Julian Scheiber struck to condemn Manchester City's dismal Champions League campaign to a suitably sorry end with a 1-0 loss in Dortmund.
The Premier League champions already knew they could not progress from Group D but had been looking to secure a consolation place in the Europa League.
With Ajax losing at Real Madrid that possibility was open to them but it proved beyond Roberto Mancini's men as Schieber hit the only goal of a subdued affair at the Westfalenstadion just before the hour.
In time, they may find the lack of European action assists them in their title defence but they must get the disappointment out of the system quickly before Sunday's derby against Manchester United.
The result left City bottom of their group with just three points and without a win, one of the worst performances by an English side at this stage of the competition.
It was not until midway through the half that City produced anything meaningful with their possession as Samir Nasri slipped in Edin Dzeko but his cross for Carlos Tevez was cut out by Marcel Schmelzer.
City's best chance of the first half came when they finally got in a shot on goal just after the half hour. A controlled move created the opportunity for Dzeko but the Bosnian's low effort was tipped around the post by Roman Weidenfeller.
City made a positive start to the second period with Nasri finding room on the left and crossing deeply into the box for Dzeko but Weidenfeller kept out his header.
But Dortmund upped their tempo and started to worry City with Ivan Perisic testing Joe Hart with a fierce left-foot volley and the keeper was in action again moments later, saving low to his right after good work by Kevin Grosskreutz.
Dortmund claimed the lead in the 57th minute after as substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski beat Matija Nastasic out wide and crossed low for Scheiber to tap in. Sergio Aguero threatened an equaliser five minutes from time but could only pick out Weidenfeller.