Real Madrid will head to the daunting Signal Iduna Park knowing that history and present form is weighing heavily in the favour of their obliging hosts, Borussia Dortmund. The most successful club in Europe has nothing to show for, having played 5 times in Dortmund’s backyard, won none, drawing twice and succumbing to defeat 3 times. Record books aside, on current showing, Zinedine Zidane’s side will be taking on a side showing an imperious appetite for goals, with Die Schwarzgelben scoring 20 in their last 8 matches, with 12 different marksmen.
On the pitch, the Madridistas know full well the capacity of their own team on form, and will be hoping that they win these three key battles to stand a chance of recording their first ever victory on the Prussian soil.
#1 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs Raphael Varane
There might have been a few flutters of the heart amongst the Dortmund faithful as their star striker finished the 3-1 rout of SC Freiburg on Friday, with a niggle. The Gabonese international, who has scored 4 in his last 3 games, as Madrid’s luck would have it, is poised to pass a late fitness test.
The young Frenchman, Raphael Varane will be put to the ultimate test of his apparent athleticism, when he comes up against the speed demon. Varane would have an inkling of what’s lying ahead of him, having played in the French Ligue 1 with Lens, while St. Etienne’s newest sensation was tearing up the league. If Madrid are to get any sort of a foothold in the match, they’d need foremostly to stop Dortmund from scoring first.
#2 Julian Weigl vs Luka Modric
Dortmund gaffer, Thomas Tuchel may be tempted to pair Sebastian Rode with wonder boy, Julian Weigl in the Dortmund midfield to offer a stiffer resistance to Luka Modric and Toni Kroos’ ability to boss the game on their will. It’d remain to be seen if the 21-year-old can stifle the Croatian whose boots are laced with ball-magnets. Much would depend on Real Madrid’s ability to settle in, and Dortmund’s rattling rudeness. Who so ever has the monopoly of the tempo, will win this match.
#3 Lukasz Piszczek vs Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid fans didn’t take too kindly to Cristiano Ronaldo being subbed off 20 minutes before the final whistle was blown at the 2-2 draw on the weekend, at Las Palmas’ Estadio De Gran Canaria. The European Championship winner may be feeling the after effects of his country’s blindsiding win at France over the summer, and for a man who usually has a goal per game or more, has just scored twice in 6 league appearances, and just once in the Champions League.
The fleet-footed Lukasz Piszczek would know all about frustrating the Portuguese prima donna, and the Real Madrid talisman would need to draw upon all his patience and method to avert a potential repeat.