Thursday, August 11, 2022

Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund: Can The Hosts Continue Their Home Dominance?

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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.

11th-time record Champions League winners Real Madrid will visit Westfalenstadion to face 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night. It will be a rematch of the 2013 semifinal, where Dortmund sensationally ran away as 4-3 winners on aggregate, Robert Lewandowski netted all four goals, in the match which is still fresh among the Dortmund faithful.

The two sides are facing each other for the seventh time in the past five seasons. (2x group stage, 2x quarter-finals and 2x semifinals). Real Madrid are winless in their five away games against Borussia Dortmund, only against AC Milan and Inter Milan, Real have travelled more times without ever winning. While Real have also lost their last three away games against Dortmund in the Champions League, their longest current losing streak on the road, in the competition.

Coming into this fixture, the hosts are enjoying an impressive run of form after a sluggish start to the Bundesliga campaign. Since the 1:0 away defeat to newcomers RB Leipzig, Thomas Tuchel’s sides have recorded three back to back victories in the Bundesliga, scoring a whopping 14 goals in the process. The Black and Yellows are now unbeaten in 24 games in the Bundesliga and haven’t lost a single match in their previous 13 games at the Signal Iduna Park all competitions.

On Match day one in the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund swept aside a hapless Legia Warszawa 6:0. Mario Götze opened the scoring before Sokratis and Bartra increased the lead before half time. Guerreiro added the fourth and Castro tapped home the fifth in the second half before Aubameyang finished off the rout with a neat finish.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, are having a rough patch. After dropping points against Villarreal last week, the league leaders again failed to win against Las Palmas on Saturday.

The visitors took the lead through Marco Asensio in the first half. However, their advantage lasted for just five minutes when midfielder Tana equalised for the Canary Islanders. In the second half, French striker Karim Benzema restored Real’s lead just three minutes after coming on. Los Blancos were well on their way to get three points clear of the second-placed Barcelona before substitute Sergio Araujo earned the hosts a point.

LAS PALMAS, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF reacts during the La Liga match between UD Las Palmas and Real Madrid CF on September 24, 2016 in Las Palmas, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Also in the first matchday of this season’s Champions League, Real Madrid were expected to run away with an easy victory when they met Sporting CP at the Bernabeu. But instead, the team was minutes away from a devastating loss, fortunately for them though, Cristiano was on hand. After trailing the game for almost the entirety of the match, Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick found the back of the net and Alvaro Morata and James combined to give Real the victory right at the death. The Portuguese star man has now directed two free kicks in his last four Champions League games, the same he netted in his previous 46 appearances in the competition.

Both the teams, however, are worrying over their defence. The Dortmund defence have leaked in easy goals this season and have managed just one clean sheet in five league games. While, Zinedine Zidane too, will be concerned of his side’s defensive frailties, Los Merengues defence has kept just two clean sheets in their past seven La Liga and Champions League games.

Team News

Thomas Tuchel will have a serious injury dilemma ahead of the midweek clash. Marco Reus has finished his rehabilitation training after his injury but he’s far from being fit for the clash. The German International scored two of Dortmund’s last six goals against Real Madrid, the scorer of the rest being Robert Lewandowski.

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 21: Marco Reus of Dortmund sits injured on the pitch during the DFB Cup Final 2016 between Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Dortmund at Olympiastadion on May 21, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Lack of defenders is growing to be a big problem for Thomas Tuchel. Neven Subotic and Erik Durm are out due to long-term injuries while Sven Bender is also unfit for the game. Marc Bartra was rested after suffering a niggle against Darmstadt, he is probably a sure starter against the Spanish outfit.

New signing Andre Schurrle is also doubtful for the game, the former Chelsea attacker came from Wolfsburg this summer but his career at Dortmund is yet to really kick-off.

With one eye on midweek, along with a number of injuries, head coach Zinedine Zidane, made a number of rotations in his starting lineup against Las Palmas on Saturday. Nacho served for the injured left-back Marcelo while Toni Kroos fitted in with Casemiro out.

Benzema was rested as Alvaro Morata started on with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. However, the former was far from his best and looked unhappy when he was substituted just a few minutes before Las Palmas’ equaliser.

“He always wants to be on the pitch but we have a game on Tuesday and I felt he needed to rest” – Zidane said referring to his decision to substitute Cristiano per Guardian.

Stats (Courtesy of FourFourTwo.com)

  • Borussia Dortmund have won their last four games against Spanish opposition in European competition, scoring at least twice in each of those games.
  • Dortmund have won seven of their last nine Group Stage games at home in the Champions League (W7, D1, L1), failing to score just once in that run (0:2 v Arsenal, Nov 2013).
  • Real Madrid have lost just once in the Champions League since the beginning of last season (W10, D3), that defeat, however, came away in Germany (0:2 v Wolfsburg in April 2016).
  • Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 22 Champions League Group Stage matches (W18, D4, L0), last losing at this stage against Dortmund in October 2012.
  • Los Blancos have won three of their last five away games against German sides (W3, D0, L2); this after a previous run of just one win in 15 games away in Germany in the Champions League (W1, D4, L 10)

Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3:1 Real Madrid

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