The FourFourTwo Preview: Dortmund vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid have found much joy in bulldozing teams during the Champions League this season. Over two legs they fired nine past their second-round opponents Schalke, with the bulk of the goals coming in the away fixture (six of them).
- Dortmund 2-1 Wolfsburg (Lge)
- Real Madrid 3-0 Dortmund (Cup)
- Stuttgart 2-3 Dortmund (Lge)
- Dortmund 0-0 Schalke (Lge)
- Hannover 0-3 Dortmund (Lge)
REAL MADRID FORM
- Sociedad 0-4 Real Madrid (Lge)
- Real Madrid 3-0 Dortmund (Cup)
- Real Madrid 5-0 Rayo (Lge)
- Sevilla 2-1 Real Madrid (Lge)
- Real Madrid 3-4 Barca (Lge)
Carlo Ancelotti's side started their quarter-final first-leg clash against Borussia Dortmund in a similar fashion, with strikes from Gareth Bale, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo handing Los Blancos a commanding 3-0 win at the Bernabeu. If past fixtures are anything to go by, they're building up a worrying head of steam.
Angel di Maria should be available after a return from illness too. The withdrawal of Ronaldo from the first leg with a knee injury in the home leg is reported as being merely precautionary, although he missed the weekend's trashing of Real Sociedad anyway. There are still some doubts over the fitness of Marcelo, though, following a grade one hamstring tear.
For Dortmund, their visit to the Spanish capital proved a chastening experience. Dogged with an extensive injury list, plus the suspension of influential striker Robert Lewandowski (the scorer of all four goals in last season's 4-1 thrashing of Madrid at the Champions League semi-final stage), they struggled to deliver the service to Marco Reus.
Meanwhile, their inability to a) keep within touching distance of Madrid in scoring terms and b) grab an important away goal, already feels terminal.
The good news for Dortmund is that they've spanked Madrid before on home soil (and Lewa's back this time). The bad news is that even a repeat of that 4-1 score from last year's semi won't be enough to push them through to the next round.
Jürgen Klopp's marauders are still reeling from an extensive injury list, though. They're still without influential quintet Ilkay Gundogan, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Marcel Schmelzer, Neven Subotic and Sven Bender, who all missed the first leg.
Player to watch: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Bale has enjoyed mixed fortunes this season: goals, assists, high-flying wing performances on one hand; free-kick disputes with Ronaldo, a tendency to disappear in some games and occasional criticism from the Bernabeau crowd on the other. Ancelotti was even drawn into lending his support in a press conference on the eve of Madrid's home leg against Dortmund.
"I think it is true he is a little intermittent, but that is a characteristic of all forwards and especially very quick players," he said. "Players with that speed can't have a continuous influence likes other players with different characteristics like [midfielder] Xabi Alonso. His inconsistency is a physical characteristic of the player, like Cristiano (Ronaldo) or (Karim) Benzema. It is not an attitude problem."
This is the type of game Bale enjoys, however. With Madrid's opponents looking to claw back a three-goal deficit, there will be plenty of space for him to exploit in the Dortmund half. And we all know what can happen in situations like that...
Klopp has had another harsh lesson in the realities of big-money football this season. Bayern Munich have run away with the Bundesliga with weeks to spare; Real Madrid crushed their injury-ravaged team, effectively ending their dreams of another Champions League final. At least the man is a realist. When asked if his team could overturn the three-goal deficit here, he responded: "Do you think I am an idiot? We lost 3-0 and now we have to shut up. This is not a situation for hope or big speeches."
The home leg against Dortmund marked the end of what could be considered an uncomfortable period in Ancelotti's season. A home defeat to Barcelona followed by a shock loss to Sevilla had heaped some domestic pressure on his shoulders in what is now a three-horse race for La Liga. Progression to the semi-finals here will certainly lift the mood.
Facts and figures
- Real Madrid come in to this match on the back of a 10-game unbeaten run in the CL (W9 D1). The last game they lost was the semi-final first leg in Dortmund last April.
- Real have won their last 5 CL games; the longest current run in the competition.
- It’s been nearly three years since they failed to score in a CL game (27/04/2011 vs Barcelona), and they have scored in 34 successive CL matches since.
- Robert Lewandowski has scored 5 goals in his last 4 CL apps against Real Madrid; more often than against any other opponent.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in the CL this season (in eight games), equalling the record over a single European Cup/CL campaign
More FFT Stats Zone facts
An entertaining score draw. 2-2.
Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid LIVE analysis with Stats Zone