City have faltered in the early stages of the 2019-20 campaign, both domestically and in Europe, but a 1-1 draw at home to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday sealed progression to the knockout phase of Europe's elite club competition.
Many have already ruled the Citizens out of the Premier League title race after losing three times and allowing leaders Liverpool to pull nine points clear.
After winning the league in back-to-back seasons under Pep Guardiola they can be excused for making Europe their priority.
It is no secret that the club's owners have been desperate win the competition since they took charge in August 2008.
They have reached the last-eight in each of the past two seasons, losing to English opposition on both occasions, and City are hopeful of going all the way this time around.
Tuesday's home meeting with Shakhtar was not a vintage performance but a draw was enough to guarantee their passage to the second stage of the tournament.
Gundogan scored his second goal in this season's competition, having also netted in the reverse 3-0 win over the Ukrainian outfit, to cancel out Manor Solomon's earlier strike.
The Premier League champions are guaranteed top spot and potentially a more favourable draw in the last-16, and Guardiola now has the luxury of being able to rotate for the final group C meeting at Dinamo Zagreb on December 12.
Despite a less than convincing performance, Gundogan is confident they can improve when they enter the next stage.
He told City's official website: "We are on the way. We are through as leaders - that's the most important thing.
"There is still plenty of room to improve - not the results because I think they will come automatically - but the way we play offensively and defensively."