Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund Preview
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
MATCH IN A SENTENCE: Tuesday’s match between slumping Borussia Dortmund and a Real Madrid side just one point back of them in Group D will likely determine who finishes top of the most difficult bracket in the competition.
BREAKDOWN: Borussia Dortmund dropped to fifth in the Bundesliga over the weekend—the result of a 0-0 draw at home to Stuttgart that left them with just two league wins from their last seven outings. The German champions are a whopping 11 points back of leaders Bayern Munich after 10 rounds, which means all their eggs are likely to be in the Champions League basket from hereon in.
With that in mind, manager Jurgen Klopp has tried to encourage his side ahead of an intimidating trip to the Spanish capital, and in his pre-match press conference claimed his players were not going to be intimidated at the prospect of 90 minutes inside the Santiago Bernabeu.
“There are 20 very good teams in the world, and Real Madrid are one of them, but we are up there, too,” he said. “We are not going to be frightened, but we will have maximum respect for Real Madrid.”
About Dortmund’s domestic form the manager claimed his side “were not as bad” as the table suggested, but admitted they had been “more efficient” in Europe this season.
Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, is taking nothing for granted coming into Tuesday’s match. In his pre-match press conference he admitted to being “worried” about Dortmund, but also admitted that every point taken from such a difficult bracket was an “achievement.”
“It’s a tough group,” he said. “Every team in the group is a risk. If we beat Borussia Dortmund we will be in a better position. Borussia Dortmund and us have the upper hand for now but Manchester City can get more points in the second set of matches. It is a very enjoyable group because it is very difficult.”
Madrid have won each of their last three matches since losing 2-1 in Dortmund last month. In that stretch they’ve outscored their opponents a combined 13-1.
ESSENTIALS: Madrid are still without injured left-backs Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao, although Alvaro Arbeloa returned to action at the weekend and will likely start in the position. Sami Khedira and Karim Benzema each have thigh injuries and will not feature for the Spanish champions on Tuesday.
Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl should be able to play from the start despite a facial injury. The midfielder had a mask made over the weekend and is expected to line up alongside Ilkay Gundogan. Fellow midfielder Sven Bender has a calf strain.
Dortmund left-back Marcel Schmelzer says Real Madrid will be looking to avenge their 2-1 loss in Germany when the two sides meet again on Tuesday. “They’ll be annoyed because of their loss in Dortmund, and they’ll try to roll over us,” he told the EFE news agency. “We’re going to resist hard, though.”
KEY BATTLE: Cristiano Ronaldo was kept off the scoresheet against Real Zaragoza on Saturday and will be looking to get back among the goals against Dortmund. His matchup against Dortmund right-back Lukasz Piszczek will be absolutely key to the result as the Poland international is also an important offensive weapon for his side.
FORMATIONS: Mourinho will deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation with Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria lining up behind Gonzalo Higuain. Klopp will also go 4-2-3-1 with Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Kevin Grosskreutz operating in support of Robert Lewandowski, who opened the scoring against Madrid last month.
BETLINE: Real Madrid 4/9; Draw 7/2; Borussia Dortmund 6/1. Cristiano Ronaldo has bagged 14 goals in his last 10 Champions League matches.