Real Madrid to face Dortmund in toughest group game

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) is congratulated by Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo after scoring during the UEFA Champions League football match Real Madrid CF vs Sporting CP at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 14, 2016. Real Madrid won 2-1. GERARD JULIEN / AFP

Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) is congratulated by Real Madrid’s Brazilian defender Marcelo after scoring during the UEFA Champions League football match Real Madrid CF vs Sporting CP at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 14, 2016. Real Madrid won 2-1.<br />GERARD JULIEN / AFP

Defending champions Real Madrid travel to Germany for their toughest test in Group F as they face Borussia Dortmund in their second group game of UEFA Champions League today.

While Real Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw at Las Palmas, high-flying Borussia Dortmund defeated Freiburg 3-1 on Saturday.Bouncing back from the surprise defeat to newbies RB Leipzig, Dortmund men have won each of their last four games in all competitions, scoring 20 goals in the process. Madrid, on the other hand, are lacking the firepower in the attack in their last couple of games, which has seen them drop points.

But Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, who has won everything as a player, will eye few changes for their game at Signal Iduna Park – a place where the Spanish powerhouse do not have fond memories. Indeed, in their trips to Dortmund in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the European champions are yet to win, having lost three games.

The recent couple of games has not yielded the results which Madrid had hoped for. Midfielder Casemiro has proven a vital player for this Madrid side and they’ll be without his defensive influence, which gives the manager the headache as he lacks a defensive back-up.

Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted late-on at Las Palmas to keep fresh for this game, which suggests the ‘BBC’ will form the visitors’ core of attack. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are known for running the show from the midfield, but Casemiro’s injury could see the latter with a deeper role.

Also, it is unlikely to see James Rodriguez or Isco start at Signal Iduna Park, where Dortmund will look to exploit Madrid’s flaws. In Thomas Tuchel, Dortmund have an intense coach, whose playing patterns involves high-pressing and high-octane football.

The Bundesliga outfit boast an in-form centre-forward in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will look to pounce on any error. Shinji Kagawa and Mario Gotze gives Dortmund the guile in attack, while new signings Ousmane Dembele and Emre Mor are capable of stealing the shows.Also Dortmund are the top scorers in the Bundesliga, with more than even Bayern, shows the German club are top predators in modern football.

At Signal Iduna Park, it promises to be a goal-fest when these two European heavyweights meet. Casemiro’s absence could haunt Zidane, and the Frenchman will rue the decision of not buying a cover for the Brazilian. On the other hand, Dortmund’s aim solely would be to target Madrid’s weakness—which looks to be their defence.
• Culled from www.tensports.com



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