Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
April 30, 2013; 19:45 GMT
The first leg was all about the Robert Lewandowski show, the Borussia Dortmund hitman scoring a sensational quartet and more or less putting this tie to rest. But knowing Jose Mourinho and looking at the sheer quality of this Real Madrid side, ruling out a miraculous comeback would be a gamble in itself.
There isn’t an inkling of doubt about the massive advantage that Dortmund have over Real Madrid going into this leg. Their attacking masterclass from last week caught the attention of football fans all over the world and with a foot in the final of the UEFA Champions League, they will surely be most confident of completing the job.
Mourinho’s most realistic hope will be that Dortmund’s inexperience at this level will cost them. Being a veteran in the competition, Mourinho knows what separates the best from the rest and is probably the best man to put doubt into the minds of his opponents. Tactically too, Mourinho is one of the best in the business. In Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid have a player of almost utopian ability. If there was any side in the world capable of overturning such a massive lead, it probably has to be Real Madrid.
Team News and Tactical Brief
The biggest worry for Madrid has been the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo. Rested in the derby against Atletico, Ronaldo seems likely to make a return to Mourinho’s starting lineup on Tuesday. Along with Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria should also make a start in Real Madrid’s attack after having missed the first leg due to the birth of his child.
Ronaldo will be ever so crucial for Madrid as always and knowing that Dortmund right back Lukas Piszczek isn’t up to full fitness will make his involvement all the more important. Using Mesut Özil on the right proved to be a bad move on Mourinho’s part and the German’s return to the hole will make a considerable difference, with Di Maria providing the much needed workrate on the right. Karim Benzema should get the nod ahead of Gonzalo Higuain as the lone striker.
Mourinho might decide to make an alteration in midfield, replacing Sami Khedira with the more attacking Luka Modric. While it still remains uncertain as to how Mourinho will approach the midfield battle, especially with the problem of keeping Ilkay Gündogan quiet, Khedira and Xabi Alonso seem to be the safest pair. If the goals come without Modric, Mourinho will be most delighted but the probability of this happening seems low, so an appearance from the bench seems likely for the former Tottenham midfielder.
Their defensive woes continue, with Alvaro Arbeloa and Marcelo being uncertain to start. This could mean that Ramos will start on the right yet again while Raphael Varane and Pepe keep their places in the middle. Shutting down Dortmund’s incredibly tricky attack is going to be terribly hard once again, especially with all the absentees in defense. Trailing by three goals makes this so much harder but if Madrid are to pull off an epic comeback, both full backs are going to have to provide a lot more in the attacking department.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Lopez (GK); Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Coentrao; Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria, Özil, Ronaldo; Benzema
With the game almost over, Jürgen Klopp will want to field a fully fit, experienced side in order to complete the job. Roman Weidenfeller will start between the sticks, with Marcel Schmelzer, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Lukas Piszczek starting in front of him. Piszczek, set to undergo surgery during the off-season, has been struggling with injury this season but should fight through the pain yet again. Keeping Ronaldo quiet will be most crucial and Piszczek’s presence is a must if Dortmund are to keep the dangerman under control.
Ilkay Gündogan should return to the lineup after having been rested over the weekend, while Sven Bender might be replaced by the more experienced Sebastian Kehl. The club captain’s experience will also be of utmost importance given the situation of this tie. Ahead of them will be Dortmund’s ever brilliant trio of Jakub Blaczszykowski, Marco Reus and Mario Götze. Reus’ winding runs were almost unstoppable last time around and he will surely look to attack an unprotected backline given Madrid’s need to chase the game. Götze’s off the ball movement had Alonso completely confused in the first leg and the future Bayern star should look to do the same in Madrid.
Four goal sensation Robert Lewandowski will spearhead the attack, knowing that one goal in the second leg pretty much kills the tie. Having belittled Madrid’s defense once already, he will go into this game full of confidence and most keen to become the highest goalscorer in the tournament.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller (GK); Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer; Kehl, Gündogan; Blaczszykowski, Götze, Reus; Lewandowski
- Dortmund are on a nine match unbeaten run in all competitions.
- But the German side have won only four of their last 10 away games.
- Real Madrid are yet to lose a game at home this season.
- The Spanish side have scored 16 goals in their last four matches at home.
Player To Watch Out For
Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
With Real Madrid coming into this game the hungrier side, Dortmund might tend to sit back a little more than normal. Absorbing the pressure from Madrid will be a difficult task but one that Hummels will surely be up to, especially after his embarrassing error in the first leg. Knowing that this will be a moment of redemption, Hummels is sure to put in one of those performances that should reiterate his brilliance.
Real Madrid 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid might manage to get the early goal that they so desperately need if they are to get three on the night but holding on to a cleansheet is going to be the almost impossible task. Given Dortmund’s attacking ability, it seems most unlikely that Madrid will keep the Germans from scoring and an equalizer from the visitors should be enough to kill this game.