Match in a Sentence
Borussia Dortmund proved to the world why they believe they’re a top club in Europe, as the German champions produced a fantastic performance against Real Madrid that sees them top the group of death!
- It was a battle of the 4-2-3-1 as both sides opted to set up in this shape. Unfortunately, for Madrid they were without Marcelo, Coentrao & Arbeloa. This meant that Michael Essien would start at left back and Sergio Ramos on the right with Varane and Pepe in the middle
- It was a cagey start to the game and Madrid was unable to settle, due to the excellent pressing from the German champions. Sami Khedira only lasted 15 minutes, as he appeared to get a knock, which forced Mourinho to bring on Luka Modric.
- Khedira’s energy and combatant style was dearly missed as Modric had a difficult time displaying his magic as he was often outnumbered in the midfield.
- As the half continued, Dortmund began to take control of the game forcing Madrid to lose possession in the middle of the park on numerous occasions. Mario Gotze did a great job on Xabi Alonso pegging him deeper, the duo of Sven Bender and Sebastian Kehl outnumbered Modric and Mats Hummels did a great job on Mesut Ozil in advanced areas.
- I’ve watched Robert Lewandowski over the years and although I’ve seen him score numerous goals I haven’t been to keen on him, which is why I tweeted this…
- The power of twitter is unbelievable as moments after sending that tweet, Pepe gave away the ball in the middle of the park (NOT SURPRISED) and Kehl was able to play Lewandowski through and the Polish striker made no mistake sending his shot near post past Casillas.
- Dortmund’s lead would last for a few minutes as Mesut Ozil dropped deeper and played a fantastic ball over the top of the Dortmund defence to Cristiano Ronaldo who chipped his shot over Weidenfeller and in the back of the net.
- It was a superb finish from Ronaldo, but poor from Weidenfeller who theoretically didn’t need to leave his goal.
- Before I get into the second half in which Dortmund were far superior to Madrid, I must highlight Lukas Piszczek. I’ve been able to watch him play a lot over the last 12 months, and I must say he is maturing into one of the top right-backs in world football. He’s an integral piece to the success of this Dortmund side and the Polish national team. A week ago he tore England’s left side to shreds and tonight, although it was Essien at left back, he was fantastic, bombing down that right hand side.
- Jurgen Klopp’s men targeted Madrid’s weakness, which was Essien, as Reus and Gotze began to drift out wide occupying the large amounts of space between Ronaldo and Essien. With CR7 so high up the pitch, Piszczek , Reus, or Gotze doubled up on Essien and he had no answers for the threats they caused.
- To no surprise the game winner was also crafted from that side. Xabi Alonso and Modric finally came over to help Essien who was getting slaughtered out wide. Gotze zipped by Alonso and the dire Essien and sent in a cross that Casillas couldn’t clear which fell at the top of the box for the unmarked Marcel Schmelzer, who smashed his shot passed Casillas.
- Casillas/Varane will be held responsible for the goals because of their miscommunications, and rightfully they should be, but Mourinho and every Madrid player on the field should be held accountable as well. Apart from Di Maria who I thought was the best player in white, an impressive Dortmund side out worked the Spanish champions.
- What I found alarming was Mourinho’s inability to tinker with his side once he noticed that Lewandowski, Reus and Gotze were using the space in behind Ronaldo. Also, why not get Ronaldo to swap flanks with Di Maria who is better defensively and could’ve tracked to help Essien complete his defensive duties. Ronaldo sat far too high up the pitch and his inability to track was the difference maker, as Dortmund did a fantastic job in exposing Essien who is not a natural left back. We’ve seen this happen for Portugal at times and it happened today, and unfortunately for Madrid, Dortmund made them pay! It’s these little things that can earn you a point or cost you three against quality sides in Europe.
- Real Madrid weren’t good enough on the night but with Manchester City collapsing at Ajax they sit in a great position to advance to the final 16. There will be better nights for Mourinho’s men, but it’ll be interesting to see how they respond to another loss this season.
- Jurgen Klopp’s men were fantastic on the night and now sit four points away from a berth in the round of 16. Many thought they couldn’t emulate the performance away to City, but they did and this time picked up the three points they deserved. Sitting 12 points back of Bayern who’ve been superb thus far domestically, it seems like we’re really seeing Klopp’s men go for it. They showed no fear against arguably the best team in the world, and they exposed their weaknesses and nullified them by defending superbly as a unit. It’s Dortmund’s group to lose now, home games against City, Ajax and a trip to Madrid is what they’re destiny holds, and frankly the only team that can prevent Dortmund from progressing out of the group of death is Dortmund!
- Lukasz Piszczek
- Mario Gotze
- Sebastien Kehl