Borussia Dortmund will travel to Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday to face off against unbeaten Real Madrid in the final matchday of this year’s UEFA Champions League.
This is one of the most played fixtures in the UCL in the last five years as the two teams have met seven times. Both teams have successfully qualified for the Round of 16 stage this season, but the clash will decide who will finish top. Borussia Dortmund sit first in the group with 13 points, while Real trail them by just two points. So a draw would be sufficient for Thomas Tuchel’s side to seal a first placed finish.
Real Madrid are on the back of a draw against fierce rivals FC Barcelona this past weekend. The tightly contested matchup saw Luis Suarez putting Barcelona ahead just around the hour mark, but Sergio Ramos’ (who else?) late header gave Los Blancos a point away at Camp Nou.
Dortmund, on the other hand, scored four goals past a clueless Gladbach side. Marco Reus provided three assists and Aubameyang scored a brace as Dortmund easily managed three points at home.
Real Madrid have won 11 of their last 14 Champions League home games against German clubs (D2 L1), their only defeat in that run coming against Schalke in March 2015 (3-4). At the Bernabeu, Real Madrid have won 20 of their last 21 Champions League group games (D1), including the last 12. Borussia Dortmund were the last team to stop them from winning, in November 2012 (2-2). The record champions have also won their final group game in each of their last nine Champions League campaigns.
In Dortmund’s case, they will have the chance to win all of their away games in the group stage this season. Having won seven of their last nine away games at the group stage, Thomas Tuchel’s team will fancy their chances against Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid who will have to come out and play to top the group. The Black and Yellows have also found the back of the net 19 times this season – just one goal short of equaling the most goals in a Champions League group campaign (Manchester Utd 1998/99, Barcelona 2011/12, Real Madrid 2013/14).
Borussia Dortmund will miss the services of new signing Raphael Guerreiro and Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa. Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin limped out of Saturday’s Bundesliga game against Gladbach and was subbed off after the half hour mark, he will miss out against Real. The experienced defender, Sven Bender, Joo-Ho Park and goalkeeper Roman Bürki are also out due to injury. The worse news for Dortmund faithful is that Borussia Dortmund confirmed Mario Götze won’t be travelling to Madrid due to minor complaints.
As for Zinedine Zidane, he will miss a host of players due to injury. German International Toni Kroos is due to a hairline crack in the foot and star winger Gareth Bale’s torn ankle will keep him out until April of next year. Former Juventus man, Alvaro Morata will also miss out the Dortmund game due to Achilles problem. Casemiro featured in the match against Barcelona in the El Clasico, he will be available to play vs. Dortmund. But fullbacks, Danilo and Fabio Coentrao remain on the sideline.
Real Madrid: (4-3-3 formation) Keylor Navas; Danny Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Luka Modric, Isco; Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Borussia Dortmund: (3-5-2 formation) Roman Weidenfeller; Sokratis, Matthias Ginter, Marc Bartra; Lukasz Piszczek, Julian Weigl, Ousmane Dembele, Gonzalo Castro; Marcel Schmelzer; Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Prediction: Madrid 1:1 Dortmund
Anas Ali Molla
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