Game in a sentence

An enjoyable game played at a high quality sees the German champions mature on the European stage to earn a significant three points over powerhouse Real Madrid.

Observations

  • Dortmund, a talented side whose reputation of being a top club in Europe was still hindered by their performances in this competition last season, now finally have a landmark victory against a top club.
  • They full deserved the three points on this night ending Real Madrid’s 10 match group winning streak by displaying a solid, narrow system that frustrated Jose Mourinho’s side. In fact, Madrid, who had 24 shots on target in their opening two games of this tournament, managed just two in Germany.
  • The most interesting battle came down Dortmund’s right where full back Lukasz Piszcek was allowed to regularly join the play in an advanced area, giving stand-in left back Michael Essien all sorts of problems. The intelligent movement of Marco Reus and Mario Gotze created overlaps that Real Madrid failed to nullify. Cristiano Ronaldo is not a player who will track deep on the wing so the emphasis was placed on Xabi Alonso to do so, yet he was poor when asked to move over.
  • Alonso was poor throughout. He lost his midfield partner Sami Khedira to injury in the first half and that may have had an impact but he was frustrated by Dortmund’s ability to press intelligently and close down the gaps.
  • The game, played on a wet surface that impacted passes, ignited on the 36th minute when Pepe, another Madrid player who struggled in this game, carelessly gave the ball away and Robert Lewandowski did the rest, sprinting in and finishing superbly past Iker Casillas.
  • The lead lasted less than two minutes when Ronaldo scored his 28th Champions League goal in his 31st match for Real Madrid. It was no surprise to see it come down the left, Mesut Ozil’s fantastic ball behind the advanced Piszcek caused Sven Bender problems and Ronaldo lifted the ball brilliantly over the onrushing Roman Weidenfeller.
  • At the interval, 1-1, was a fair and accurate reflection of the opening 45 minutes but credit Dortmund for not only winning the second half in terms of the score but also in their performance. Jurgen Klopp has instilled a belief into this side that wasn’t evident last season and it shone brightly as they pushed for a second goal.
  • Inevitably, it came down their right, Mario Gotze this time cruised by the combination of Essien and Alonso to cross a ball that wasn’t dealt with by Iker Casillas and his defenders. The ball spilled out to the onrushing Marcel Schmelzer and he drove the ball past the Spanish number one.
  • Madrid couldn’t find the extra gear that some expected and now travel back to Spain sitting second in this group midway through. They will remain favourites, however, to top the group at the end but with Man City losing the path for Dortmund is clear. Four points from Madrid away, Ajax at home and Man City at home and they will qualify from the apparent group of death. A task a talented, yet fragile, side could surely have achieved last season and must surely accomplish now they have belief in themselves following this victory.
Three Stars
  1. Sebastian Kehl
  2. Robert Lewandowski
  3. Lukasz Piszcek
Six Super Stats
  • Real have scored in 14 consecutive away matches in the CL, equalling the all-time record by Bayern (2005-2009 and Barcelona(2009-2012).
  • Real’s 10-match winning streak in group matches came to an end. They remain equal withBarcelonaon 10 group match wins in a row
  • RealMadridplayed their 350th Champions Cup/Champions League match, most of all clubs.
  • Ronaldo scored his 43rd CL goal. He has now scored equal many goals away (21) as in home matches (21) with one goal scored on neutral ground. At the same time it was the first CL loss for Ronaldo in a match in which he scored (26W -3D – 1L).
  • Real have conceded five goals in the first three matches of the CL group stage. In the last two season they only conceded two goals in the entire group stage (six matches)..
  • Iker Casillas played his 125th CL match to equal Clarence Seedorf in third place of the all-time list behind Rául (142) and Ryan Giggs (130).
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