Real Madrid were surprisingly beaten 4-1 by Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night.
Here is a strategical analysis of how they outran and outfoxed Jose Mourinho's men.
1. Alonso's off day
Xabi Alonso is so instrumental to Real Madrid's fast counter-attacking style. Sitting just in front of the defence, his cross-field diagonal balls to pick out Cristiano Ronaldo and other runners are the main weapon in Real's armoury. And on days like Wednesday, when he has a poor game, Real Madrid's game-plan goes out the window.
2. Tactical masterclass by Jurgen Klopp
Borussia Dortmund came with a specific game-plan and executed it to perfection. Be it crowding out Ronaldo or changing the formation from 4-5-1 while defending to 4-3-3 while attacking, Jurgen Klopp got the best from each of his players.
3. Modric a poor replacement for Ozil
Mesut Ozil is the gel that holds together Real Madrid's attacks; so often he is the one who links all of Real Madrid's attacks in the centre of the pitch. His dribbling skills and his vision makes Real Madrid tick. The fact that Luka Modric is used to playing a bit deeper showed, as very often he was dropping back and he is just not that good a dribbler.
4. Lack of quality crosses
For this Real Madrid side, Angel Di Maria is the key crosser and so often Cristiano Ronaldo drifts inside to head those crosses. With Di Maria missing, Ozil was shunted out right and he was very uncomfortable in that position. Add that to the fact Marcelo, another good crosser, was also missing.
5. Pepe's lack of sharpness
Pepe has had a stop-start season with a lot of injuries. And he was not very sharp in Wednesday's game. With only one striker played by Borussia Dortmund, as the senior defensive partner he must have stuck to Lewandowski, but instead was culpable for the first and the third goals.
6. Super energetic approach by Dortmund
One of the key reasons for Dortmund's success was that they simply outran their opponents. It was such an energetic display and they came out of the blocks bursting and put all the early pressure on Real. This approach payed in each half with great chances being created.
7. Majestic display by Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan played an absolute blinder yesterday. He was assured when tackling, confident in possession, nimble while attacking and strong while defending. His passing with his both feet were exquisite. He was the rock in midfield and simply bossed the central midfield area. His dominance in the centre set Dortmund perfectly.
8. Team spirit
Borussia Dortmund's game showed that their biggest strength is their team spirit. Everyone had specific roles and they stuck to their roles throughout the game. They both attacked and defended as a unit to nullify the threat of Ronaldo - and they worked their socks off.
9. Interchanging Gotze and Reus
Marco Reus and Mario Gotze were vital components of the Dortmund machine. They kept changing their positions, constantly moving about to form a dynamic front-three along with Lewandowski.
They both took turns in drifting into the flanks and this resulted in them outnumbering Real Madrid's full-backs. Gotze's cross for the first goal was brilliant and Reus won the penalty for the fourth.
10. Mind-blowing Lewandowski
Brilliant, amazing and top-class finishing. He grasped all the chances that he got with both hands. The first goal was a typical poachers' finish, sniffing out the chance in the far post.
The second and third goals showed his class and calmness as, in between the crowded penalty area, he found time and space to get accurate shots past the goalkeeper. With rumours that he will be leaving at the end of the season, Borussia Dortmund will surely miss him if he goes. But he might have given them the perfect parting gift by producing a vintage display.
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