Cristiano Ronaldo vs Dortmund

After already losing to Borussia Dortmund in Germany once this season, Real Madrid reach their third encounter in a completely different mood than the one from six months ago. If someone thought before the match that the Germans might be favorites due to recent history between the clubs, the news of the departure of their biggest star shuffled the deck completely.

Mario Gotze, the wonderkid who has helped the team win two league titles and was enjoying another fantastic season (10 league goals) had a release clause of €37 million in his contract. That meant Bayern Munich, his new team beginning July 1, didn’t even have to contact Dortmund in order to trigger it. Gotze signed the contract, and the whole thing exploded at the worst time possible for Borussia, who had to acknowledge the situation after everyone already knew what was going on.

Dortmund fans have vowed to boo Gotze in the match, which might make it difficult for Jurgen Klopp to decide on a starting lineup, although it’s hard to believe he won’t start him in the team’s biggest European match in 15 years. Dortmund are in good form in the league, especially Robert Lewandowski, but they need Gotze at his best next to Marco Reus in order to force Xabi Alonso to play more retreated than usual and occupy him with defensive assignments.

Another issue important for Dortmund will be how hard working they’ll be on the wings, with Kuba and Psiczcek on one side, with Reus and Schmelzer on the other. But still, the whole affair of Gotze leaving to Bayern, with the suspicious timing of it all (Bayern’s doing, of course), set to be the main issue in the opening minutes, which is just fine for Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho does have Sergio Ramos playing as a right back which is his better position instead of the middle, although the Spaniard doesn’t like playing out wide. Alvaro Arbeloa is suspended, Marcelo out of the match as well and Luka Modric possibly injured too. It doesn’t hurt the lineup too much, but it does limit Mourinho’s possibilities of making changes off the bench if needed, which means both Ozil and Xabi Alonso will play the full 90 minutes, and mean you’ll probably see Mourinho trying to poach a win or satisfy himself with a draw.

Up front, there are no secrets, and it’s Cristiano Ronaldo first and foremost. If Dortmund will manage to isolate him on the left and make him try to do things on his own, the better for them. At the same time, keeping Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria from dominating in their respective areas is just as important, although not as difficult as containing the player in the best form right now around Europe.

Predictions – Dortmund are hurt by the Gotze news, and it will change the dynamics of the match. Real Madrid will only benefit from this, which might give them a certain edge against a fitter, compact and hard to play against team. Smells like a draw, with Real happier about it eventually, although Dortmund have been perfect this season at home in the competition.