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Champions League Preview: Borussia Dortmund host holders Real Madrid

Can a vibrant Die Borussen complicate matters for the defending champions?

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

Borussia Dortmund host defending champions Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Group H fixture at the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night.

Dortmund lost their opener to Tottenham Hotspur and a second defeat on the trot will leave their qualification hopes hanging by a thread.

Real, who seem to have been stuck in second gear, beat Apoel in their opener but their domestic struggles have seen the pressure pile up despite it being early days.

However, a team that possess the superlative talent of Cristiano Ronaldo and has dominated Europe for the past three seasons is capable of winning without playing well and Dortmund would have to produce a special performance if they are to take even a point.

Borussia Dortmund

Their famous Yellow Wall will be out in full force, but do the Bundesliga leaders stand a chance against the mighty Real Madrid?

The players have responded to Peter Bosz’s methods! (Photo: AFP)

 

Their meetings in the past have always been thrilling encounters and there’s no reason this edition will buck the trend.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as expected, has started the season on a prolific note but it is the form of the young Christian Pulisic that is giving Die Borussen fans hope that this season will be a noteworthy one.

His pace was always sensational, but Aubameyang’s finishing is now second-to-none! (Photo: AFP)

 

Nuri Sahin seems to be rejuvenated in midfield and the likes of Maximilian Philip provide an alternate source of goals for the hosts, who have an impressive goal difference of +18 after just six games played.

American starlet Pulisic is making Dortmund forget all about Ousmane Dembele! (Photo: AFP)

 

Their defence, however, was found wanting against Spurs and with Real arguably a step above the Premier League side, could overwhelm them when in possession.

Talking Corner: There is only a two-day gap between the matches against Hamburg and Gladbach, and between Gladbach and Madrid. It means that we’re missing a day to recover properly- Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Boss (www.bvb.de)

Injury concerns: Marco Reus (Knee), Raphael Guerreiro (ankle), Marcel Schemlzer (ankle), Erik Durm (Hip) and Sebastian Rode (stress fracture)

Suspension Alert: None

Real Madrid

Are Real paying the price for letting go of Alvaro Morata in the summer?

The longer their ‘slump’ continues, the more questions like the aforementioned Zinedine Zidane and co will have to face.

However, with immense quality of their squad, they can go on a stupendous run any time they choose to and an away game at Dortmund would be perfect to gain some momentum before the international break commences.

Dani Ceballos rescued Las Blancos in the La Liga, but is unlikely to feature against Dortmund! (Photo: AFP)

 

Ronaldo is yet to score in the La Liga, but Los Blancos will hope the Portuguese superstar brings his shooting boots to Germany.

Ronaldo (C) cut a frustrated figure in the La Liga on the weekend! (Photo: AFP)

 

The 32-year-old will have support from the likes of Isco, Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio, to name a few, so expecting a goal-spree is not unreasonable.

Their midfield and defence, however, will have a tough time coping with the ferocity of Dortmund’s counterattacks and if they are able to contain them, the game is theirs for the taking.

The diminutive Modric will look to pull the strings in Dortmund! (Photo: AFP)

 

Talking Corner: Playing in Dortmund is special because that’s where it all started for me. The crowd will get on top and it’s difficult to play there. They have a good team, but I think we are prepared to have a good game- Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro (www.realmadrid.com)

Injury concerns: Matteo Kovacic (thigh), Karim Benzema (hamstring), Jesus Vallejo (muscle), Theo Hernandez (shoulder) and Marcelo (muscle)

Suspension Alert: None

Super Stat: Dortmund are unbeaten in their three previous meetings against Los Blancos, having drawn twice and won once!