Football romantics will have surely found their time watching Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid quite satisfying on Tuesday night, with both sides putting in their fair share to make it a quite stylish clash in the Champions League group stage Round 2 at the Westfalenstadion.
Following an exciting performance and an eventful encounter do take a look at five key points we highlighted from the duel:
Will Ronaldo’s critics have been silenced?
Real Madrid star performer Cristiano Ronaldo was under great scrutiny over the past couple of weeks with Real Madrid as the Portuguese forward was widely criticised for poor performances.
Zinedine Zidane’s excuse that he opted to change Ronaldo at Las Palmas in order to rest him for the Champions League lacked validity with numbers clearly showing that Portugal international is on a downward spiral.
Few people would have anticipated that Ronaldo would fail to find the back of the net in six games after a goal he scored at his league debut against Osasuna. The seventh game for has never before arrived with Ronaldo being so low at the scoring charts, but the Portuguese has fortunately managed to improve his record with his goal against Borussia Dortmund.
The product of a great counterattack initiated by Luka Modric, Ronaldo’s goal came after an unselfish assist from Gareth Bale and despite Ronaldo’s successful execution his overall individual contribution – one of Ronaldo’s main traits – has been severely limited on the occasion, as well during last couple of weeks.
Zidane’s cowardly approach yielded result
Free-flowing and attack-oriented teams such as Borussia Dortmund are not easy to play against and one could find plenty of reasoning behind a decision to hold back and pivot your play around quick breaks on counterattacks, but this is Real Madrid we are talking about.
Reigning champions of Europe should not allow themselves to be in such a submissive position as it was the case on Tuesday evening.
Zinedine Zidane’s cautious approach resulted in Dortmund keeping most of the possession to their feet with most of Real Madrid players contained in their own half for the majority of the game.
In all fairness to Zidane’s team, their counterattacks have indeed been highly productive yielding several good scoring opportunities, but the overall impression is that Los Blancos could have exploited their 4-3-3 formation a bit more effectively.
They did opened up later in the game and added pressure on tired hosts, but three points would have come undeservedly and Dortmund had every right to walk out of the pitch unbeaten.
Tactical genius of Thomas Tuchel almost left undone
Contrary to Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel once again wore his heart on the sleeve on Tuesday night with his players blindly following him.
The young tactician has displayed his vast managerial talent and football bravery by instructing his players to attack the reigning European champions straight from the off.
Buoyed by the frenetic support from the Yellow Wall of supporters, Borussia Dortmund players used their 4-1-4-1 system to exert huge pressure on Los Blancos and continue with their high-pressure, attack-oriented play in order to achieve their goal and continue with the winning run.
Having notched four compelling wins on the trot during which they scored as many as 20 goals and conceded just one, Borussia Dortmund’s efforts against Real Madrid were almost left undone, courtesy of Raphael Varane, but Andre Schurrle made sure to keep Tuchel’s side alive in an exhilarating stalemate.
Dortmund’s summer signings shining bright
Result of the game aside, all of you watching the game tonight must have been taken aback by the influential performance from Borussia Dortmund’s summer signings.
Although they lost the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ilkay Gundogan , Jakub Blaszczykowski and Mats Hummels, the Bungesliga giants have used all of their vast scouting knowledge to reinforce the team with players which went on to be an instant fit and huge influence to the Tuchel’s team.
Andre Schurrle with his late equaliser, Mario Gotze, Emre Mor and Raphael Guerreiro all had a noticeable appearances against Los Blancos, but it was Ousmane Dembele who has impressed the most.
The 19-year-old French international right winger put in a mature performance way beyond his tender age. Brave with his face towards goal, former Rennes starlet was never too shy to display his tricks and skills against seasoned Real Madrid defence line, which struggled to contain him on numerous occasions.
New arrivals have played a great part in Dortmund’s impressive start to the new season and BVB fans should be very excited and pleased.
Real Madrid sure to start looking for Navas replacement
Disagreement and mutual accusations between Manchester United and Real Madrid returned him from Madrid airport in the nick of time last year, but Keylor Navas is sure to be replaced at the end of the current campaign, if not earlier even.
The Costa Rica international goalkeeper should be given a slight slack since he has just returned to fitness, but he was nevertheless expected to put in a commanding performance in this top-level contest. Instead, he was the one to blame for Aubameyang’s leveler and for unsure interventions that could have caused more trouble for Real Madrid.
Navas has fully recovered from his heel intervention, but the three months on the sidelines affected his edge and influenced his confidence. And with Madrid’s defensive woes going well beyond the goalkeeper position, Real officials are likely to start rebuilding from the way up.
They have already flirted with Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who revealed that Real Madrid approached him with a get-well-soon message during his injury lay-off and the towering Belgian appears to be the number one target for Los Blancos and a long-term solution on goal.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND: Burki 6.5 – Piszczek 6.5, Papastathopoulos 7, Ginter 7, Schmelzer 6.5 – Weigl 7 – Dembele 7.5 (Pulisic 6), Gotze 6 (Schurrle 7.5), Castro 7, Guerreiro 7 (Mor 6.5) – Aubameyang 6.5
Unused subs: Passlack, Ramos, Rode, Widenfeller
REAL MADRID: Navas 6 – Carvajal 6.5, Varane 7.5, Ramos 6, Danilo 7 – Modric 8, Kroos 7.5, Rodriguez 7 (Kovacic 6) – Bale 7, Benzema 6.5 (Morata 6), Ronaldo 7.5
Unused subs: Isco, Casilla, Coentrao, Pepe, Lucas
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg
Other results this evening
CSKA Moscow 0-1 Tottenham
Dinamo Zagreb 0-4 Juventus
FC Copenhagen 4-0 Club Brugge KV
Leicester 1-0 Porto
Sevilla 1-0 Lyon
Sporting 2-0 Legia