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Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund: Key Matchups

UD Las Palmas v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund will look to continue its impressive Champions League campaign when the club faces Real Madrid on match-day two. Dortmund beat Legia Warsaw, 6-0, in the group stage opener and is coming off a 3-1 victory over SC Freiburg this past Friday.

Reigning UCL Champions Real Madrid opened their 2016/17 Group Stage with a dramatic, comeback victory over Sporting CP, 2-1. Real was frustrated, however, last weekend, drawing Las Palmas, 2-2.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Madrid’s speed

While the level of talent Real Madrid possesses should go without saying, their speed is top notch and ultimately separates them from their opponents. With Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo on opposite attacking flanks, the firepower this team possesses is vast. Add the likes of James Rodriguez in midfield and good luck catching up to these guys.

KEY TO THE GAME: Possession

The more possession Dortmund wins, the better chance they have of controlling the flow of the game. Dortmund has a balanced, versatile attack while Madrid is a run-and-gun type of offense that overwhelms opponents. If Dortmund can win the battle of possession and stay patient, chances will favor BVB and Madrid’s attacking pace becomes less of an issue.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Gareth Bale

The Welshman possesses a lethal combination of strength and speed which renders opposing defenses ineffective. His play-making ability on the right wing has made him one of the top forwards in the world and a perennial offensive threat. Dortmund’s defenders, Lukasz Piszcek and Sokratis namely, will have their hands full stopping Bale. And let’s not forget about the man on the other side: Cristiano Ronaldo - who allows Bale to become freed up in attack.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

  • Formation: 4-3-3
  • Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
  • Defense: Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Danny Carvajal
  • Midfield: Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Mateo Kovacic
  • Forwards: Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo

PREDICTION: 2-2 Draw

Both teams will see abundant attacking chances and should be able to capitalize on a few. There will also be a period of feeling out that disrupts the fluidity of this game. The contest will finish honors even, setting up an even bigger second leg between the two in just a few weeks time.