Written by Ben Jaycock
Borussia Dortmund finish top of Group F after recovering from 2-0 down away at the Santiago Bernabeu, to rescue a point and finish two points clear of their opponents. The match certainly lived up to it’s pedigree on paper, providing constant competitive entertainment throughout. Both sides were evenly matched and a draw on balance of play was a fair result.
Real Madrid opened the scoring just before the half hour mark. With Karim Benzema slotting home past Weidenfeller, from just a yard out after a superb delivery from full back Dani Carvajal. Madrid were dominant during the first half with James Rodriguez going close after great link up play between Ronaldo and Vasquez, but Weidenfeller came surging off his line. Dortmund had plenty of possession but couldn’t break down Madrid’s defence on the counter attack. Aubameyang and Dembele were extremely ineffective.
However, towards the latter stages of the first half, Dortmund had some joy on the break and looked a threat to Madrid’s defence. They then carried that momentum into the second half dominating the match. With Castro missing a golden opportunity to draw his side level after missing from close range after Pulisic’s cross.
Dortmund and Castro were then punished two minutes later. James Rodriquez provided a world class delivery into the box which Benzema headed in to get his second of the night. Weidenfeller quickly rushed out to complain about how easy it was for Benzema to get in between his centre backs and score from a free header. Madrid’s lead then should of been enhanced when Ronaldo hit the post with a right footed shot that beat Weidenfeller but hit the inside of the post after Lucas Vasquez picked him out.
Although, Dortmund heads never dropped at 2-0. With their courageous and gutsy style of play still evident, continuing to push the full backs high up the pitch. Dortmund were soon rewarded, after a long ball by centre back Bartra picked out full back Schmelzer in the corner of the penalty box before volleying across the face of a goal to assist Aubameyang an easy finish.
The all important substitutions by coach Thomas Tuchel were made soon afterwards with Reus replacing Schurrle and Emre Mor replacing Pullisic, as Dortmund’s attacking intentions to score again were evident. Intentions were rewarded on the 86th minute when Emre Mor played an impressive long ball down the right hand side to Aubameyang who went past Ramos like he wasn’t even there using his blistering pace. Then Aubameyang quickly crossed in the middle of the goal where the super sub Reus was to finish smartly, thus completing the comeback to secure the group.
It finished 2-2 in a high quality, highly entertaining affair. Madrid will be devastated to of blown the two goal lead especially as they had chances in each half to add to their tally. They came up against a hungry and resilient Borussia Dortmund side, that might just be a dark horse this season. Especially after proving their case by going toe to toe tonight against the holders, by dominating possession and creating real chances against the European champions.
Was this a fair result? How far do you see both sides going in the competition? Let us know in the comments below!