Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Borussia Dortmund Players Who Can Ruin Real Madrid’s Night In The Champions League

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

The epic clash awaits us in the Champions League as 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund lock horns against current holders Real Madrid.

In this article, we will take a look at some key players for Dortmund who will play an important role for the Black and Yellows as they look to dominate Los Merengues at the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night.

Julian Weigl

The departure of key build up players such as Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels and Henrikh Mkhitaryan has left a big hole in Dortmund’s build up play. However, many fans predict Julian Weigl, who had a breakout season with Dortmund last term, to step out and be the man to take reigns in the middle. The 29-year old had a highly impressive passing accuracy of 91% last season.

WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 20: Julian Weigl of Dortmund in action during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund at Volkswagen Arena on September 20, 2016 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images)
WOLFSBURG, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 20: Julian Weigl of Dortmund in action during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund at Volkswagen Arena on September 20, 2016 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Very safe and composed on the ball, Weigl is a very good distributor of the ball. Rarely caught getting dispossessed or making a wrong pass, the 21-year-old hardly puts a foot wrong in midfield. Last season, Weigl played as the deep lying midfielder whose job was to drop in between the centre-backs and move the ball up field and spray passes around to start counter-attacks. In footballing terms, Weigl can be defined as the transitional midfielder, the one who bridges the gap between the defence and the midfield. The performance led to a place in Germany’s 23-man squad for the Euros this summer.

Weigl is also somewhat, a resemblance of former Bayern midfielder, Bastian Schweinsteiger, with the physical and offensive qualities lacking. However, the fact that the German international is trying to add more dimension to his game is no secret.

Borussia Dortmund have so far  found it difficult to build up the play when Weigl was completely isolated in the middle (Against Leipzig and in the first half an hour versus Freiburg).

Real Madrid may need to do just that in order to stop Dortmund’s flow in midfield. Man marking Julian Weigl with Brazilian midfielder Casemiro could be a decent idea.

Gonzalo Castro

One of the best performers for Borussia Dortmund so far this season, Gonzalo Castro was not always a regular starter in the Black and Yellow team, after he arrived from Bayer Leverkusen last season. But after the Hinrunde, Castro really started to turn on the screws and now, the Spanish-born German midfielder has successfully cemented his place in Thomas Tuchel’s starting eleven.

Castro is generally known as a deep lying playmaker, who tends to pull the strings from the middle of the park. However, Castro has been curved onto a more attacking role by his new manager Thomas Tuchel. The 29-year-old is now deployed in a far more advanced role, where he’s been nothing less than success.

In the last few matches, Gonzalo Castro has been in fiery form, scoring three goals and providing six assists in his last four games all competitions. He has successfully proved to be the man for Dortmund in the final third and his key passes, smartness and creativity could cause some serious trouble for the Real Madrid defence.

Sokratis

With no Mats Hummels in the squad anymore, Sokratis is now Dortmund’s best asset in the defensive department. The 28-year-old centre-back came from Werder Bremen for a bargain price of 13 million Euros in 2013. Since then, the Greek International has improved to be one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga at the moment.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 02: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid takes on Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 2, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Strong, fearless and hard tackler, Sokratis is an absolute beast of a defender. His robust style of play drives fear into opponent attackers. Not just the aggression, his tackling accuracy and lately, we’ve come to know, his skill on the ball is pretty good as well.

Once again, the defence has grown to be a worry for the die schwarzgelben faithful. The team leaked sloppy goals in the previous fixtures. But even though the defence has been sloppy, Sokratis remains one of Dortmund’s main components going into this clash. Watch out you, Cristiano!

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Who else? This is surely going to be an important match for the Gabonese International. The speculation of Aubameyang having the ambition of playing for Real Madrid is ever-growing and on Tuesday, he will have a chance to show exactly why.

The 27-year-old marked his 100th Bundesliga appearance with a goal on Friday against Freiburg, in what was his 59th league game for die schwarzgelben. He is now Dortmund’s joint eighth most prolific goal scorer in the league along with Jan Koller, also a famous figure in Dortmund.

Against Real, the chances will be hard to come by but a single chance is all that he needs to pounce on. The pace of Auba will also be a major threat for this rather slow Real Madrid backline.

Of course, it will be a difficult task for Dortmund, who are coming back onto the Champions League scene after a year’s absence along with a very young and inexperienced squad to face up against the competition heavyweights. The fact that Thomas Tuchel is yet to beat a side with proper UCL winning credentials makes the job look tougher. However, this young team has gelled together incredibly well so early on in the season and not just these listed players but the whole team have will have to give their best to outclass the powerhouse, that is Real Madrid.

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