The defending Champions League champions Real Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund tomorrow at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany. Real is coming off a 2-1 road victory against Alavés on Saturday. Meanwhile, Dortmund continues their Bundesliga dominance so far this season coming off a commanding 6-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach also on Saturday. This may be the best squad Real Madrid will face so far this season as BVB have looked scary good in the early season. They are currently 1st in the Bundesliga, ahead of Hoffenheim and Bayern, and have a perfect 3-0 record at home. For Real Madrid, they have struggled quite a bit in La Liga and haven’t yet looked like themselves, though they just took some much-needed 3 points. One thing about Real, they always seem to step up in big matches, and this is certainly a big match.
Real Madrid released their official 20-man squad for the match tomorrow. From the players on the list, it is likely you will see a starting-XI consisting of:
D: Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Nacho
MF: Modrić, Casemiro, Kroos/Ceballos
F: Isco, Bale, Ronaldo
Notably back in the squad is Toni Kroos, who missed Saturday’s match due to injury. It’s uncertain whether or not he is fully match fit, which is why he could be swapped in favor of a red-hot Ceballos. Dani Ceballos scored 2 goals against Alavés and was the main reason why Los Blancos took away the full 3 points. Another player that shouldn’t be a guarantee, and someone who could sit in favor of Ceballos should Kroos start, is Isco. Isco was far from great last match, especially in the first half of play. He made far too many selfish choices with the ball and needs to work on sharing the wealth.
Another issue on the squad has been Carvajal. He has yet to look his best and has had some questionable matches. He would do well with a much-earned rest, but this game is too big to not start him in, especially with the plethora of injuries already. Ronaldo also needs a big game after not scoring in his first two matches back. He and Bale need to start clicking on their passes and convert them to goals. The Champions League is where CR7 shines and that needs to be shown against Dortmund. Expect Mayoral, Asensio, and Vasquez to come on as substitutions in the second half of action. Lucas Vasquez is another Real player who needs to get his game in check, as he has yet to impress this season.
Dortmund also released their squad for their match. Their starting-XI might look as follows:
D: Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Toljan
MF: Kagawa, Götze, Pulisic
F: Yarmolenko, Aubameyang, Phillipp
As mentioned before, BVB has looked like a powerhouse so far this season. They have yet to lose a match, they’ve only drawn once, and they’re undefeated at home. Missing Reus, Schürrle, Schmelzer, and Bartra has yet to hurt them this season. While it’s way too early to call a league winner, and they’ve only 3 points on Bayern, they look like a serious Bundesliga threat for the first time in a long time.
Given their record at home so far, it’ll be of utmost importance for Madrid to strike early, and strike often. Dortmund also has a very intimidating home crowd. Home to the largest free-standing supporter’s section in the world and one of the biggest stadiums in Europe, Signal Iduna poses a big threat to away teams. So again, it’s important for Real to not missing golden chances like they have been.
There’s a handful of players for Real to watch. The first is the returning Mario Götze. The man who scored the golden goal for Germany in 2014 against Messi’s Argentina to win them the World Cup Final. The same man who missed pretty much all of the second half of last season with a rare illness. It seems he is back to full form and has played his best probably since the World Cup, after a failed stint with Bayern. Then there’s BVB’s dangerous attacking formation of Yarmolenko, Aubameyang, and Maximilian Phillipp. These 3, two of them just joining Dortmund’s squad this season, have been some of the main catalysts behind Dortmund’s scoring. Aubameyang looks like the one of the best strikers in the world and has a great supporting cast. Roman Bürki, the goalkeeper, has to be mentioned. He’s only given up one goal this season, which was on Saturday and looks like the best Bundesliga keeper with Manuel Neuer out. And, of course, the “American Wonderkid” Christian Pulisic needs to be brought up. At 19, he’s already the best US-born player in the world and one of the best players in the Bundesliga. He has been the main reason BVB is as good as they are this early on in the season and Real needs to keep watch on him at all times.
This is where Madrid’s defense needs to be on their A-game. If there was ever a time for the defense to fix itself on the fly, it’s tomorrow’s match. Ramos needs to lead the back-four to their best defending performance of the season. If they hope to win against BVB, it’s going to require great play across the board. This is the toughest matchup they’ve faced in all matches this season and they need to be prepared. They certainly cannot take Dortmund’s attack lightly and need to exploit a rather thin backfield. They have to put their chances past Bürki and cannot afford to make him look like Adán.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Time: 20:45 CET, 02:45pm EST, 11:45am Pacific.
Venue: Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany.
Available Streaming: FOX Sports GO (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a summer discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).
3-1 Real Madrid-Borussia Dortmund
Real: Ronaldo, Casemiro, Modrić
If Madrid wins, don’t expect a blowout. There’s a reason Bürki has the most clean sheets in the Bundesliga right now, barring a complete collapse against Real. If Los Blancos can keep the BVB attack at bay, they can win this match. Ronaldo can and hopefully will step up and start scoring. If Kroos starts, this should significantly help Real in their chances of beating Dortmund.