Spanish giants Real Madrid host German side Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final this evening.
Los Blancos have a mountain to climb, after losing the first leg 4-1 in Germany.
The task ahead of Real is a difficult one. Jose Mourinho’s team do have the ability to produce a miracle comeback, but will have to attack the German side from the first whistle.
That could play into the hands of Dortmund’s superb counter-attacking ability.
Dortmund is arguably the best counter-attacking team in Europe. They have the players with the ability to break at lightning quick speed. Their whole team is perfectly set-up to break quickly and exploit any space left behind by the opposition defence.
With the home in need of three goals and their defence, not exactly looking rock-solid Dortmund could easily pick Real off. I really would be surprised if the German visitors did not find the net at the Bernabeu.
In the history of the Champions League, only one team has ever overcome such a deficit. Ironically, it was Real’s compatriots Deportivo La Coruna in 2004. Deportivo lost the first leg quarter-final tie 4-1 at AC Milan, only to win the second leg 4-0.
Deportivo’s story gives Real Madrid hope, but this Dortmund side are very dangerous opponents and Real Madrid will have to produce a big performance to get through to the final.
There are major doubts over the future of Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho. He has enjoyed a rather stormy relationship with the club and Spanish football in general in his time in Spain. The link with a return to Chelsea never seems to go away.
The Portuguese boss joined Real to bring home the Champions League trophy and so far, he has failed his task. Mourinho is not a quitter, but even he will know that it is a tough ask of his side to defeat the well-drilled German side.
Real Madrid could end the season trophy-less, after losing out to rivals Barcelona in La Liga. Los Blancos face bitter-rivals Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey final 17th May, but even a cup victory will not make this season a success.
I do not even think Jose Mourinho could say that this season has been a success if they do not win the Champions League trophy, which is now looking very unlikely.
If Real have any hope of making the final then they will have to keep Dortmund’s star striker Robert Lewandowski quiet at the Bernabeu. He scored four goals in the first leg and looked like a constant threat in attack.
With service from the likes of Mario Gotze and Marco Reus, he will always score goals. Lewandowski has proved in the last few seasons that he is a truly outstanding goalscorer. Dortmund will lose the Polish international in the summer.
His boots will be big ones to fill. Whoever has agreed to sign him have one hell of a player. It looks increasing likely that the 24-year-old will be joining rivals Bayern Munich, which would be a double blow for Dortmund, as highly-rated youngster Gotze has already agreed a summer move to Bavaria.
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is fit for the crucial clash after shaking off a slight injury problem from the first leg. Ronaldo is vital to the Real cause. The former-Manchester United star is currently the top scorer in the Champions League with 12 goals, two ahead of Lewandowski in the scorers chart and four ahead of big rival Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo scored Real’s goal in the first game and a lot will depend on him in the second leg. If Ronaldo is on-form, he seems to lift the rest of his team. That lift could be the deciding factor in this tie.
I do believe that Real Madrid will win tonight’s game, but lose the tie. Dortmund has been the dark horses throughout the competition and will probably have just enough to make it through to the final.
They could possibly meet bitter-rivals Bayern Munich in the final and have a chance for revenge, after Bayern stole the Bundesliga crown this season. Whatever happens this evening the game promises to be an entertaining clash, with lots of goals hopefully.
Can Real Madrid complete a miracle comeback at the Bernabeu?