Real Madrid suffered their first defeat of the season as they fell to a 3-2 loss against RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena in front of 45,228 fans on Tuesday night.
Here are three stats that help to understand the positives, the negatives, and the unknowns of the match.
38.6%: The number of duels won, the lowest since March 2019
You would have to go all the way back to March 2019 and a 4-1 win over Real Valladolid in LaLiga to find the last time that Real Madrid won fewer of their duels in a match, as they then recorded 37.8%. It reflected the disappointment and frustration of a team which didn't quite look up to the fight and the intensity of an RB Leipzig team playing for their future in the competition.
In total, Vinícius Junior lost an incredible 15 duels, while winning just four. That’s his highest number of lost duels since the 0-0 draw against Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League in 2020/21.
However, what was more concerning for Real Madrid fans watching on was Éder Militão, whose career average for duel win rate is 61.2%, as he won just two of seven duels, less than half of his average at 28.6%.
3: Chances created by Marco Asensio, more than any other player in this match
In his first start of the season for Real Madrid, Marco Asensio stood out. He provided an assist for Vinícius Júnior’s goal with some build-up which was pure Marco Asensio, racing through and crossing the ball over to the Brazilian to score.
That was just one of three chances which he created, a match high, and he continued to offer something in the Real Madrid attack. Alongside Rodrygo Goes and Vinícius, with Fede Valverde and Karim Benzema out, he looked a livewire, even if he didn’t manage to secure a shot for himself. That was an uncharacteristically unselfish display from the Spanish international.
Add in the fact that this was his third consecutive game with a goal involvement, and he is in good form. He has averaged a goal involvement every 68 minutes to date this campaign, and may well feel that he can justify knocking on Carlo Ancelotti’s door to ask for more game time after this display.
The only potential drawback could be that Lucas Vázquez might be following him in to beg Carletto not to give him that chance, as Asensio failed to attempt a single tackle and lost his four duels. While he didn’t do all that may have been asked of him, he did create in attack. Small steps.
2016/17: The last time Real Madrid went a whole group stage unbeaten
You would have to go back six years to find the last time Real Madrid avoided defeat throughout a whole Champions League group stage campaign, which is quite a remarkable figure given the success of the team over that period.
Over that period, the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Shakhtar Donetsk (twice), Tottenham, CSKA Moscow (twice), Sheriff Tiraspol, and now RB Leipzig have all inflicted defeat on Real Madrid. Had it not been for Rodrygo’s cool penalty finish, and the game had ended with a 3-1 whipping, this would have been the heaviest loss in the competition since the 3-0 thrashing from PSG back in 2019.
Despite that unwanted run, Los Blancos have lifted the trophy twice since then, in 2018 and 2022, and this can certainly not be seen as an omen. A blemished record certainly didn’t prove too much of an obstacle to overcome in 2021/22, either. There’s still hope, Madridista.