Real Madrid staged a dramatic late recovery against Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday evening as they avoided back-to-back defeats in this season’s UEFA Champions League.
The 13-time European champions were firmly on the backfoot mid-way through the first-half as Marcus Thuram slammed home from Alassane Pléa’s wonderful cross. The Frenchman then doubled the lead by stabbing in following a parry from Thibaut Courtois. Karim Benzema hurled Real back into contention late on, with Casemiro netting an all-important equaliser with just a minute remaining.
Here are three things we learned from a fascinating evening at Borussia-Park:
Slow starts costing Real?
It almost seemed a case of deja vu for Real Madrid. After going two-nil down to Shakhtar Donetsk in their last group game, Los Blancos finally started playing and almost pulled off a brilliant recovery. Exactly the same happened against Borussia Monchengladbach. It took until Thuram had sealed his brace for the Spaniards to really start threatening. This time, they managed to claim a point from behind but Zinedine Zidane’s men cannot rely on their powers of recovery every time.
There will be occasions where they are simply not able to find a route back into the game and now having only taken one point from their two opening group games of this season’s competition, Real cannot afford anymore slip-ups, especially with Inter Milan still to come.
Whilst it is not impossible for them to qualify for the knockout rounds of the competition, as shown last season as they managed to finish second having failed to win their opening two matches, they really need to start doing better if they want to have any chance of progressing. They currently sit at odds of 4/7 with William Hill to at least qualify from the group.
Thuram going right to the top
Since breaking through at Sochaux in the French second division, it has been a meteoric rise for striker Thuram and he now looks like going all the way to the top of the game like is father Lillian.
In his first Bundesliga season last term, he netted ten goals, becoming one of the most promising young players in the German league and in fact European football. He now looks to have finally announced his arrival on the European stage and there could have been no better opponents to do that against than Real Madrid.
Whilst not exactly putting in an all-dominating showing, the 23-year-old was still key to his side’s victory with two instinctive, predatory finishes. If he can continue his impressive goal-scoring and upward trajectory, then Thuram is surely going to be one to certainly keep an eye on.
Counter-attacking football king
Whilst the forward almost proved to be the match-winner for Marco Rose’s men, a huge amount of credit has to go to the coach himself for the way he managed to set up his team. The entire Gladbach side were extremely well-drilled defensively, leading to their illustrious visitors getting more and more frustrated as the match progressed.
The Foals did not just defend though. Once they won the ball, they broke up-field through the quick and powerful strike partnership of Plea and Thuram. That was exactly where the first goal came from as the former found space down the right flank to curl a wonderful ball into the path of Thuram, for the Frenchman to power into the top corner.
It was a system and set-up that for the majority of the game worked perfectly throughout the evening as the hosts almost claimed a memorable victory.
Borussia Monchengladbach: Sommer (7); Bensebaini (7), Elvedi (7), Ginter (7), Lainer (7); Neuhaus (7), Kramer (6), Thuram (9) (Herrmann (6), 71′), Stindl (7) (Wolf (N/A), 79′), Hofmann (7); Plea (7) (Embolo (N/A), 79′).
Real Madrid: Courtois (5); Mendy (6), Ramos (6), Varane (6), Vazquez (5); Kroos (6) (Modric (6), 71′), Casemiro (6), Valverde (5); Vinicius (6) (Hazard (5), 70′), Asensio (5) (Rodrygo (N/A), 84′), Benzema (7).
Goals: Thuram (33′, 58′), Benzema (87′), Casemiro (90+3′)
Referee: Orel Grinfeld
Yellow Cards: Stindl (55′), Bensebaini (79′), Hofmann (85′), Casemiro (89′)
Red Cards: N/A
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