After a nail-biter of a first leg game in Signal Iduna Park, Borussia Dortmund visit the Bernabeu to see who will finish the group stage in first place. With Kroos and Morata coming back from injury, will Real Madrid have what it takes to put down the Schwarzgelb?
Today’s match is without a doubt the most important match of the group stage for Real Madrid. Not only is it a chance to prove that they’re the best team of the group from a tactical point of view, but it will also determine who we face in the next stage.
A win would mean we face Bayern Munich, PSG, or Manchester City. A tie or loss would mean facing Monaco, Leicester, Arsenal, Napoli, or possibly Juventus. All of these teams are powerhouses in their respective leagues. Some people are even go as far as to say that a second place finish is in our best interest. We’ll have to see how the match turns out…
Historical Record (Real Madrid)
Key Players Missing/Coming Back
Real Madrid will once again be missing the creativity and pace of Gareth Bale for this match. The absence of the Welshman is definitely something that might shape the match. Without his pace, Real Madrid aren’t as deadly on the counter as they’ve been earlier in the season.
On the flip side, Toni Kroos and Alvaro Morata have been deemed fit for this match. Toni Kroos was arguably Real Madrid’s best player in the first leg, with his ball control and creative long through balls giving much needed service to our forwards. Alvaro Morata is also known for his clutch goals in the Champions League and might be able to provide some good attacking plays toward the end of the match if he’s subbed in. Casemiro has been fit for the last two weeks, but this might be his best match yet after his injury. With matches vs Cultural Leonesa and Barcelona as warm ups, he might be extra sharp for this match.
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Dortmund will be missing Mario Gotze. The #10 always provides great plays that free up the forwards, so it’ll be interesting to see how Dortmund cope with his loss. Will they keep play through the middle or maybe rely more on wing play to give service to Aubameyang. Maybe this will give Pulisic the opportunity to shine like he did in the first leg.
Although he might not be as missed as we think, because Marco Reus made his way back on the squad recently. A hat trick two games ago followed by 3 assists in the last match before the Champions league. He seems to be in the best form of his career and if he can bring some of that magic into this match, Real Madrid are in for a tough match.
Real Madrid will most definitely be playing their first choice squad. With so many players coming back from injury in the last two weeks, Zidane may have some internal conflict choosing his starting XI. Kovacic didn’t even make the team sheet, which says alot about how stacked this team is. Don’t expect Kroos to start, but he will definitely come in for Isco sometime after the 60th minute. Morata might also make an appearance in the second half to give Real Madrid some much needed sharpness up front.
Real Madrid Predicted Starting XI:
Keylor Navas, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Carvajal, Isco, Casemiro, Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vasquez
Borussia Dortmund have a history of very fast, attacking oriented football and that’s exactly what you can expect from them this match. Tons of pace in their forwards and from their wing backs. I expect them to employ a 3-4-3 hybrid along the lines of what Antonio Conte has employed with Chelsea.
Borussia Dortmund Predicted Lineup:
Sokratis, Ginter, Marc Bartra, Marcel Schmelzer,
Gonzalo Castro, Weigl, Lukasz Piszczek,
Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele