A gigantic fixture in Group D headlines Tuesday’s Champions League action as Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund clash at the legendary Bernabeu Stadium in the Spanish capital. The German squad currently sits top of the table in Group D, a mere one point ahead of the Spanish Giants, after a 2-1 victory for Borussia Dortmund over Real Madrid on October 24 in Dortmund.
Real Madrid will be looking for revenge the loss to Dortmund a fortnight ago, and will be relying on Cristiano Ronaldo to lead the way. The Portuguese superstar leads the Champions League with 5 goals and leads Los Blancos with 18 goals in all competitions. Everyone knows what Ronaldo is capable of, and Dortmund must be extra keen of his whereabouts, when he is on the pitch. Ronaldo did tally the lone goal in the match against Dortmund, but he will need support from his teammates if Real Madrid are to succeed.
What is encouraging for Real Madrid over the weekend, was Ronaldo wasn’t needed in their 4-0 victory over Real Zaragoza. Gonzalo Higuain, Michael Essien, Angel De Maria and Luka Modric supplied the goals in the match, and will be asked to support Ronaldo on Tuesday. Manager Jose Mourinho does have options but will need to be wise with his choices. Karim Benzema, who came on as a substitute on the weekend, is a possibility. Jose Maria Callejon who also came on as a substitute on Saturday could make the team sheet on Tuesday. Mesut Ozil has been in Mourinho’s doghouse in recent times, and his play has been affected by the harsh treatment. It is a mystery whether Ozil will make the starting eleven or not, but his form must improve for Real Madrid to advance further in the competition.
The back four has seen improved form throughout the campaign for Real Madrid. Pepe is one of the most underrated defenders in the world, and is one of the leaders for Real Madrid. Sergio Ramos has shown better restraint and hasn’t been as reckless with his endeavours forward recently. Ramos will push forward more than other defenders, but he has shown more responsibility with his defending. Alvaro Arbeloa can be exposed along the left flank, but the former Liverpool defender has been satisfactory at right back. Brazilian International Marcelo is a likely starter at left back. The other options may include dropping either Xabi Alonso or Sami Khedira back but both are better suited as holding midfielders.
There is no doubt who the keeper will be. Iker Casillas is arguably the best goalie in the world and will get the call between the sticks for Real Madrid. Anyone who is a football fan, knows about the greatness of Casillas.
For Borussia Dortmund they favour a 4-2-3-1 formation, that accentuates attacking, attractive football. At their best Die Schwarzgelben are one of the most eyecatching sides in Europe.
Robert Lewandowski is the focus of Dortmund’s attack. The Polish striker has 5 goals in all competitions, with 2 of those goals coming in Europe. While not the biggest striker, Lewandowski does possess strength and versatility up front.
Marco Reus has been brilliant for Dortmund this season. The German winger has incredible pace down the flank, while showing creativity and skill. Reus leads Dortmund with 6 goals in all competitions and has the flexibility to move up to striker if needed. Jakub Blaszczykowski and Kevin Grosskreutz will likely start as attacking midfielders alongside Reus. Both are adept at playing the wings, or moving to the centre of the pitch. Mario Gotze and Ivan Perisic could also see time as well. Perisic does have a knack for scoring goals so it wouldn’t come as a total shock if the Croatian International is on the team sheet on Tuesday.
Expect Sebastian Kehl and Ilkay Gundogan to be the holding midfielders for Dortmund. Neither are flashy, but are reliable, industrious players for Dortmund.
Mats Hummels anchors the back four. The German International isn’t afraid to move up to begin attacks for Dortmund, but has the sensibility and intelligence to stay back when needed. Left back Marco Schmelzer has recently joined Germany on an International level, which has helped his confidence and form. Schmelzer is a stern left back, who can surprise opponents with runs along the flank. Neven Subotic is a likely starter as a central defender. Lukasz Piszczek most likely makes the team sheet at right back.
Keeper Roman Weidenfeller will need to be in peek form for Dortmund. With Real Madrid favouring the attack mode at home, Weidenfeller will be under immense pressure from the swarming Madrid surge. Weidenfeller’s form will be crucial for Dortmund to achieve a result.
Look for Real Madrid to avenge the result of a fortnight ago, but it won’t be easy. Borussia Dortmund are a sound squad who aren’t the easiest opponents to play. They know a draw is a sufficient result. However Real Madrid are at home and Bernebau will be an electric atmosphere for kickoff. I expect Real Madrid to win the match 2-1 and overtake Dortmund at the top of the table in Group D.
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