Real Madrid Vs. Borussia Dortmund, UEFA Champions League 2012: Benzema, To Miss Crucial Match

Denis Doyle

Real Madrid will play this Tuesday (20:45 CET) its most crucial match of this ongoing UEFA Champions League. Borussia Dortmund visits the Santiago Bernabéu with the goal in mind of reaching the 1/8 stage of the European trophy, but Jose Mourinho's team will fight hard in order to regain the leadership of Group D.

Injuries don't seem to stop biting Real Madrid. Just when Álvaro Arbeloa rejoined the squad, Karim Benzema will miss the next couple of weeks due to an small injury in his adductor. Gonzalo Higuaín will probably be on duty again to try to be an important player in Champions League time, something he has yet to accomplish with Real Madrid.

José Mourinho also confirmed in Monday's press conference that Raphäel Varane's will return to the starting lineup. The French defender rested his legs against Zaragoza, so he'll be fully ready to show once again why he's going to be the starting center back for many years to come. If Sergio Ramos is finally able to play, something that seems very likely, he will be on Real's right back, with Varane and Pepe in the middle and Arbeloa on the left.

That way, Mourinho will need to pick either Michael Essien or Luka Modric to be Xabi Alonso's partner. Given how thin Real Madrid's midfield is at this point, it's hard to see Mourinho placing a 4-3-3 formation, because he wouldn't have a natural replacement on the bench if another injury breaks Real Madrid's plans. Modric is arguably reaching a very good form, but that creative midfield couldn't be enough to prevent Borussia Dortmund from enjoying dangerous scoring opportunities.

Di María didn't play well in Dortmund, but the German team shouldn't be able to press that well during more than one half in the Santiago Bernabéu. It's sure that Real Madrid will miss Khedira's physical presence in the midfield, but if Di María and Özil play well enough, Klopp's team shouldn't have neither more nor better scoring chances.

Also, if Casillas plays the way he did against Zaragoza, and Pepe has a luckier game than when Mourinho's team visited Dortmund, maybe Real Madrid could keep its fourth consecutive clean sheet, something that should be noted.

One way or another, it's true that Real Madrid still needs to improve. Even though they played great possession football against Mallorca, the fans are still waiting to see their team crushing the opponents with quick counterattacks. That's the style that fits Higuaín, Cristiano Ronaldo and Di María best. and those three will be Real Madrid's best scorers on the pitch. Transition game will be very important, since los merengues can't let Borussia have the ball at the Bernabéu that much.

It will be an intriguing game for the fans, and there's a lot at stake. Real Madrid players better be ready to display a better offensive game if they want to win this Group Stage. It won't be easy, but Mourinho is coaching the better side, that's for sure.

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