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Opposition Analysis: Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid

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Can Dortmund beat Europe’s best?

Real Madrid Training And Press Conference Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund will try again to earn a UEFA Champions League victory as they host reigning champions Real Madrid on Tuesday. Madrid beat Apoel Nicosia on Matchday 1 to go top of the group while Dortmund sit in third following a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.

What to Watch for: Transition game

If there’s one certainty about Real Madrid’s offense aside from Cristiano Ronaldo being the focal point, it’s that their transition game is lethal. Madrid wastes no time turning defense into attack and quickly fills into spaces between defenders. Real has also showcased it’s ability to connect short touch passes as well as long through balls accurately.

In their previous Champions League fixture, Real Madrid utilized speed in their transition game to overwhelm Apoel Nicosia and it resulted directly in goals one and three. Dortmund will have to defend compactly and attentively to limit this transition play.

Key to the Game: Stretch the full backs

With Madrid left back Marcelo injured and a back line prone to committing fouls, Dortmund’s speed will undoubtedly be its biggest weapon against Real Madrid. Having Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the middle to get between the two center backs isn’t enough, however, as Sergio Ramos is talented enough to neutralize Auba. Instead, the wingers and midfielders will need to find a way to draw the Madrid full backs out of position. Andriy Yarmolenko and Max Philipp will have to utilize their speed along the wings to get into advance positions to create space.

In their weekend victory over Alaves, Real Madrid conceded a goal in this exact situation, as the full back fell behind the Alaves winger who sent in an inch perfect cross. Dortmund is talented enough to attack this way and has done so successfully throughout the young season.

Player to Watch: Isco

Obviously, having players like Ronaldo and Bale on a team make it difficult to focus on other players. But for Dortmund to find success, they’ll need to focus on the player who creates chances for the stars, such as Isco. He’s a talented midfielder who has a terrific ability to anticipate the movement of two of the world’s best, and to do so consistently each year is what makes Isco so special at what he does.

Projected Lineup

  • Formation: 4-3-3
  • Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
  • Defenders: Nacho, Daniel Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos
  • Midfielders: Luka Modric, Casemiro, Isco
  • Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez

Prediction: Dortmund 2-1

Hard to think Dortmund will shut out Real Madrid, but BVB should be able to vanquish the Spanish giants at home. For the most part, a pretty routine game, but Dortmund prevails.