UEFA Champions League. Group stage. Round 6 (Final Round)
Group F. Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund
December 7, 20:45 CET
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Referee: Szymon Marciniak,Poland
Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have already solved the biggest issue of CL group stage: they have guaranteed their place in the play-offs and could easily go through the last round game featuring experimental lineups… if not only the prestige and the fear of facing huge grands too early. No team want to play Juventus or Barcelona (Real Madrid can’t play Barcelona, though) in the very first round of the play-offs. However, if we take into account the fact that second position teams count such grands as Manchester City and Bayern Munich (not for Dortmund, obviously), the biggest question still remains the following: WHO IS THE HEAD of GROUP F? The defending champion Real Madrid or revived German grand Borussia Dortmund?
Real Madrid seem to be in an unbelievable form. Not only they lead the domestic league with plus 6 over Barcelona, not on they have already guaranteed their place in the Champions League play-offs, but are also on an incredible run of 33 games without a loss in all competitions after escaping from loss in Super Clasico. Moreover, the team’s manager Zinedine Zidane is close to breaking the club’s all time record of 34 games with not a single loss set back in 1989 under Leo Beenhaker. Important to note that the last time Zidane’s side lost was on April 6, 2016 against another German club Wolsburg (2-0). Will Tuchel’s team become another German nightmare for Real Madrid and end their unbelievable strike?
The question asked above has no truth answer yet, but the obvious is the fact that Thomas Tuchel side’s run is much less impressive compared to that of their Spanish opponents. They are now residing in the 6th position of Bundesliga table and are losing 9 points to the leader. Only three out of last five domestic games the team have won, one game was lost and one defeated. If we compare their performance in the national league and the CL, it seems like Thomas Tuchel has certainly set an objective to concentrate on the European arena, and their poor performance in Germany is not a basis for predetermining the winner of the game.
The latest games between these teams show an absolute equality between them. Two out of last five games were won by Real Madrid, two games brought credit to Dortmund and a draw was observed. Moreover, the draw in the first round of the same Group stage, when Schurrle scored a late equalized to bring a point to his side. Other than this game, all the others went under big domination of one of the teams. It is yet unknown if one of the teams will firmly take the lead or there will be another draw, but we can surely expect more at least two goals (let’s hope to witness beautiful ones) from this game.
Real Madrid → Gareth Bale (all injured), Mariano Díaz (omitted), Nacho (omitted)
Borussia Dortmund → Roman Burki, Neven Subotic, Mario Gotze, Raphael Guerreiro, Nuri Shahin (all injured), Sven Bender (unfit)
Real Madrid (4-3-3) vs Borussia Dortmund (5-2-2-1)
The game is surely one of the most intriguing in the last round of the group stage. The game will reveal the head of the table, might equalize Zidane to the greatest (as a coach) and will reward the winner with confidence for the rest of the season.
Taking into account the head-to-head statistics an open game is expected, and comparing the injured list length, the German side seem not to be 100% fit for a big clash. But… Those can be invisible factors compared to the passion and effort both teams are expected to put in the soul of the game.