Ahead of Borussia Dortmund's return leg against Juventus earlier this season, Dortmund boss Jürgen Klopp put it perfectly when he said, "We are facing one of the biggest challenges in football; beating an Italian side who only need a draw."
Now, Real Madrid are in an identical situation as Dortmund were. They must beat Juventus at home, and it isn't as simple as it was against Atléti, where any winning result would do. A 1-0 victory would still see Madrid through, but conceding would be cataclysmic. As I wrote earlier, Real Madrid did not do themselves any favors with their lineup and formation in Turin, and one has to imagine things will look different on Wednesday. Here's what (I think) Real must do to get through.
1. Create space with off-the-ball movement.
Chicharito is nothing if not gritty, and his movement was sorely missed in the first leg. Ancelotti's electing to use only Ronaldo and Bale as forwards did them no favors in terms of freedom to move without the ball in attack. Against Valencia, all three of Ronaldo, Bale, and Chicharito were in rhythm, and they combined for 15 shots, 6 of which went on target. When the B-C-Chi (I'm sorry) is moving both laterally and directly, Real Madrid are more likely to break through.
2. Contain Paul Pogba
The French dynamo returned to the Juve lineup at the weekend after two months in recovery, and it took him only 45 minutes to score a screamer from outside the box. Juve will play opportunistically, and Pogba is a dream player for this tactic. When in transition from defending to attacking, Pogba can pass, shoot, or run with the ball, and the end product is usally something good. Whichever duo Ancelotti sends out in central defense will have to make sure they don't lose sight of Pogba's magnificent mohawk.
3. Neutralize Arturo Vidal
In the first leg, Vidal was literally everywhere. His positioning in the middle of Juve's midfield gives him room to run in any direction, and his influence on the game went beyond the stats he tallied (though, he did lead Juve in tackles, clearances, and chances created). Juve go as Vidal goes, and Real can use the likes of Chicharito and Toni Kroos to mark him up and down the pitch, respectively, to force him into poor decisions and beat him in one-on-one situations.
4. Let Isco move the ball into Juve's third
Isco has the type of skills to cut through a geometric midfield and defense, and he showecased them in the first leg. Despite not tallying any assists or goals, Isco dribbled into Juve's third often, and the only thing which stopped him was his substitution. If Isco replicates the type of performances he had against Juve and Valencia, Real Madrid will certainly see more chances.
5. Mash the turbo button
In obvious news, Real Madrid have pace. From Varane, through James, to Bale, Madrid have the pure speed to run clean past teams all over the pitch, and Real should look to get their men running in space as much as possible. Juventus aren't slow, but they are relative to Madrid. Even if Madrid can force Juve to slow them down by making pragmatic fouls in their own third, it'd work to Real's advantage.