Borussia Dortmund were beaten for the second time in as many UEFA Champions League matches as they were defeated 3-1 by reigning Spanish and European champions Real Madrid on Matchday 2.

Boris Rupert reporting

The 65,848 spectators saw a high-quality encounter in which Real Madrid went 2-0 ahead through Bale (18) and Ronaldo (50) strikes. The Black & Yellows, though, were never quite out of it and gave themselves a lifeline when Aubameyang pulled one back in the 54th minute, only for Ronaldo to re-establish the two-goal cushion following a counter 11 minutes from time.


The scenario: 
The men from Madrid had never faced any other UEFA Champions League opponent away from home more often without winning (three defeats, three draws). Their last loss in the group stages of the competition also came at the hands of Borussia Dortmund: a 2-1 defeat on 24 October 2012. Since then, Real have 21 wins and seven draws in group games.

Personnel matters:  
There were no surprise inclusions in either starting line-up. Kroos began for Real, who were without Benzema, Marcelo, Theo and Kovacic, while Borussia made three changes from the team that beat Gladbach 6-1: Sahin, Castro and Yarmolenko were drafted in to replace Weigl, Dahoud and Pulisic. Schmelzer, Reus, Guerreiro, Schürrle, Rode and Durm were all still injured and unavailable.

It was the question on everybody's lips before kick-off: would Borussia's offensive approach with counter-pressing deep in the opposition half also work against such an experienced team brimming with outstanding individuals? Sahin did not play as far forward as usual, instead sitting just a few metres in front of the back four. When defending, the Black & Yellows adopted a 4-1-4-1 formation with Aubameyang as the lone frontman, but they switched to a 4-3-3 when they had the ball. Real defended in a 4-3-3 system with one player (usually Isco) in a central position slightly deeper than the wing forwards. Both teams tried to get their full-backs forward when they had the ball.

The match & analysis:
Real posed a real threat down the Dortmund left flank on two occasions in the opening stages: Carvajal went clean through but was denied by Bürki in the 10th minute, before Piszczek cleared the ball away from inside the six yard box barely 60 seconds later as Bale was preparing to pull the trigger. The Welshman would have had an empty goal to aim at from Ronaldo's cross.

The Spaniards might have had the first few chances, but it was the hosts who were in the ascendancy in the opening stages with a strong and fluid display, and they should have had a penalty for handball in the 14th minute. Castro played a great ball to Yarmolenko, whose cross from the right flank went over Aubameyang's head before being fired back across the face of goal by Philipp and handled on the line by Ramos. Yet the goal-line assistant – positioned just a few metres away – wasn't having any of it and so referee Kuipers instead opted to award a corner kick after consulting with his assistant. It certainly wasn't Ramos' intention to stop the ball with his hand, but his arm was in an unnaturally high position and it prevented a goal from being scored!

Goal for Real Madrid instead of spot-kick for BVB

But rather than a penalty and a possible lead for the hosts, it was the Spaniards who broke the deadlock, scoring only four minutes later with a stunning strike from Bale, who met Carvajal's cross with a perfectly-timed left-footed volley into the top corner (18).

Signal Iduna Park was in full swing from the very first whistle as the fans drove their team forward with unwavering support, and they almost got their reward when Piszczek found a gap in the reigning champions' defence in the 38th minute. Unfortunately Aubameyang hit the post, though the goal wouldn't have stood anyway as the forward was in an offside position. By the interval, BVB had more of the ball (53 percent) but Real had more shots (7-8). Madrid's attack was never completely shut out but – aside from that spell between the 10th and 18th minutes as well as Ronaldo's shot that went wide directly before the break (45) – it was under control.

Hosts almost level after the restart

The second period began with an excellent chance for Dortmund. Götze played the ball towards Yarmolenko on the right of the penalty area and the Ukrainian attempted to head the ball on towards Aubameyang, only for Varane to clear it away for a corner at the last second (46). Instead it was Real who would score next, Bale crossing into the centre from the left and Ronaldo slotting home in his fourth game for Real in Dortmund (50).

But the Black & Yellows battled back and halved the deficit when Aubameyang headed home Castro's cross from the left flank in the 54th minute. Signal Iduna Park sparked into life and would have exploded a short while later if Yarmolenko had tucked home Toljan's cross (56).

Open encounter with chances at both ends


Their next opportunity came when Yarmolenko played in Castro, who only had Navas to beat but lost control of the ball in the box (62). Minutes later Götze went through but a Real defender managed to get a foot to the ball to thwart the danger (65), then Aubameyang fizzed an effort narrowly wide of the upright (67). What an atmosphere, what a fast-paced and frenetic encounter!

Bosz switched to a back three once Weigl and Dahoud had come on to replace Sahin and Toljan on the hour mark. The Black & Yellows exhibited courage and pace aplenty as they pushed for an equaliser, but Real held firm and themselves came close when Bürki saved from Isco following a counter in the 75th minute.

But the final blow was delivered in the 79th minute when Ronaldo latched on to Modric's pass down the right and beat Bürki at his near-post with a ferocious strike.

Unlucky, Borussia! You deserved a point!

Borussia's marathon run of seven matches in 22 days ends when they face FC Augsburg away in the Bundesliga on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET). Their next UEFA Champions League game comes on 17 October, when the Black & Yellows face Apoel Nicosia in Cyprus.

Teams & goals