Footballing madness in Dortmund: Borussia have caught Europe's attention in their home game against Real Madrid. BVB achieved a well-earned 2-2 draw (1-1) against the current holders in the UEFA Champions League.
In a sold-out "BVB Stadium Dortmund", as the Signal Iduna Park is known for UEFA matches, in front of 65,849 spectators, Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the 17' minute, having been assisted by Gareth Bale, to give the guests a lead which went against the run of play at that point in the match. Up until the opener, the Black and Yellows had set the game's tempo. Aubameyang managed to equalise before the first half was up, gaining for BVB a deserved equaliser from a free kick won by Guerreiro (43').
Dembélé and Aubameyang subsequently had the opportunity to take the game to 2-1 in the second half (51'), but it was Real Madrid who scored next. After a short corner, Ronaldo provided service to Benzema. His shot shook the woodwork, but the rebound was fired in from close range by Varane (68').
BVB gave their all in the closing stages of the game, bringing on fresh attacking power in the form of Schürrle, Pulisic and Mor. A combination of luck, skill and Navas in goal allowed Real to hold on to their 2-1 lead for some time, Navas denying Pulisic (83') and Mor (84'). That was brought to an end, however, as Schürrle rifled the ball just under the bar in the 87' minute...
Felix Ulrich reports
The Build Up
There have been a few encounters with Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League, but the "Royals" had yet to win in Dortmund: Prior to today's game, two draws and three losses. The last time the two teams met was in the quarter final of the 2013/14 season. In the first round, Real dominated in Madrid, whereas at home Borussia were almost able to get themselves through to the next round, their 2-0 victory insufficient to force the game to extra time. BVB Manager Thomas Tuchel made clear before the game that "we need our concentration levels to be at their peak, we must work hard, must show solidarity and be prepared to switch back quickly from offence to defence". In the Spanish "La Liga Santander", Real Madrid had drawn their last two matches, and were unable to convince in a tight 2-1 victory in the Champions League against Lisbon.
Bartra had to miss the match, as with the previous one, due to a strain to his adductor muscle. As such, Ginter remained in the starting eleven, playing as a central defender. There was only one change to the team that had defeated SC Freiburg 3-1 in the Bundesliga: Guerreiro came in for Mor. He, along with Weidenfeller, Rode, Ramos, Schürrle, Passlack and Pulisic, was sat upon the bench. Others unable to participate included Reus (lack of match fitness), Bender (ankle), Durm (knee operation) and Subotic (chest operation).
The Black and Yellows set up against Real's 4-3-3 with a newly offensive 4-1-4-1 formation. When in possession, Weigl fell back to watch house alongside Sokratis and Ginter, while the remaining seven outfield players drifted upfield. Madrid's manager, Zidane, reacted to this by having his team set up in a 4-2-3-1 when without the ball, requiring Bale and Ronaldo, Piszczek and Schmelzer's opposing players, to fulfil defensive duties. Modric and Kroos then took on the number six and number eight roles.
Game Development and Analysis
Neither team dallied at the beginning: Both went on the attack early, and attempted to apply pressure on each other. The 65,849 spectators present at the "BVB Stadium Dortmund" had already witnessed two chances by the 210' second. First, Bürki parried Ronaldo's free kick from 18 metres out (2', Kroos fouled by Ginter), before Navas demonstrated lightning fast reflexes to claw Castro's own attempt on goal from a free kick out of the top right hand corner of his goal almost immediately thereafter (4').
Another free kick soon followed: Aubameyang's rocket (11') from 26 metres out was clearly blocked by Ronaldo using his forearm, something which should have led to another free kick from around 18 metres out, but Mark Clattenburg (England) waved play on. Just 60 seconds later and the first chance of the match arose, Navas saving Aubameyang's curler (12'). Dembélé fired just over the bar a mere two minutes later (14').
The performance conjured up by BVB against Real Madrid out on the turf was astoundingly good, as the Black and Yellows dominated proceedings, controlled the game – and then suddenly found themselves 0-1 down. A counter attack by the Royals down the left side of the field carried out by Benzema and Kroos was to blame. The German switched play to the right with a cross field ball that found James, who sent Bale into the penalty area. The Welshman laid the ball off for Ronaldo with a back heel, and so the guests took a 1-0 lead with only their second chance of the game (17').
BVB go into break leading 10-2 on chances
The goal temporarily affected the Borussia players. With a shot deflected out for a corner and one other shot on goal, only Dembélé represented a goal threat. BVB had 64% of the possession at this stage of the game and set the tempo, while Real remained passive, waited for counter attacking opportunities and relied on the individual efforts of their stand-out players.
Manager Thomas Tuchel's team went after goal with renewed vigour between the 34' minute and the halftime whistle. Navas punched away a headed effort from Sokratis, BVB's seventh attempt (34'). The Costa Rican was present once again with his fists to keep out Guerreiro's free kick, to his great misfortune though, as he punched the ball onto the head of his team-mate Varane, the ball then rolling goal-bound. Aubameyang, who had not been in an offside position as the free kick was taken, got a touch to the ball to send it over the line, scoring to take the game to 1-1 (43'). Among other reasons, a chance-on-goal ratio of 10-2 in Dortmund's favour meant that the equaliser was well-deserved.
After the break, BVB continued to build seamlessly on the good showing of the first half. Dembélé and Aubameyang got the second lot of 45 minutes going with a chance each, one quickly followed by the other. While the Frenchman hit just wide, Navas was forced to call upon every ounce of his ability to halt "Auba's" attempt. Nonetheless, Real would become stronger once again, just missing the goal in the 60' minute as Ronaldo met with Ramos' cross, Benzema and Bale also combining to counter in dangerous fashion soon after (63'). Luck meant that Bale's headed effort in the 66' minute went just over the bar. And just two minutes later, the post was called into action to keep Benzema's shot out, the rebound falling kindly for Varane, who lashed home from close range.
At this point in time, Schürrle had been on the field of play for ten minutes already, having been substituted on for Götze. His offensive task against Carvajal was, though, no easy one. Guerreiro had been more visible, forcing Navas into another save (70'). Thomas Tuchel reacted by bringing on offensive reinforcements, with Pulisic coming on for Dembélé (73') and Mor for Guerreiro (78'). Navas foiled further chances for Pulisic (83') and Mor (84'). However, he was powerless to stop Schürrle's effort in the 87' minute – a deserved equaliser in a football match of the highest quality.
What's up next
BVB's UEFA Champions League odyssey only continues on the 18 October with an away game in Lisbon. In the Bundesliga, the Black and Yellows will turn out next at Bayer Leverkusen (18:30 CET). The next home game at the Signal Iduna Park will take place on Friday (14.10.16, 20:30 CET) against Hertha BSC.