Borussia Dortmund will need to perform a Champions League miracle if they’re to progress to the semi-finals at the expense of an impressive Real Madrid outfit.
Madrid were in imperious form in the first leg as goals from Gareth Bale, Isco and a customary Champions League strike from Cristiano Ronaldo handed them a 3-0 victory at the Bernabeu.
Dortmund need to emulate their semi-final performance from last year’s competition against Los Blancos, where they ran out 4-1 victors, if they’re to stand any chance. However, with Madrid hitting top gear as the season’s climax approaches, there only looks like being one winner at Westfalenstadion.
Date: Tuesday, April 8
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET
TV Info: SkySports 2 / Fox Sports 2
Cristiano Ronaldo is enjoying one of the most remarkable campaigns ever to be seen at the top of the European game, and he scored his 14th goal of this season’s Champions League with his well-taken strike against Dortmund.
As well as giving Madrid a massive advantage in the quarter-final, Ronaldo’s goal was doubly significant as it matched the Champions League haul of Lionel Messi in the 2011-12 season, as OptaJoe reported via Twitter:
14 - Cristiano Ronaldo has scored his 14th Champions League goal of the season, equalling Lionel Messi's record in 2011-12. Super.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 2, 2014
The 2013 Ballon d’Or winner has been in irresistible form in the famous white shirt this season, though that rather goes without saying, doesn't it?
The man is a goalscoring phenomenon, and WeAreMadrid10 summed up just how prolific he’s been since making the switch to the Spanish capital:
With Madrid looking certain to secure a semi-final place, Ronaldo will have at least three more matches from which to secure the record for goals in a single Champions League season.
Ronaldo missed Madrid’s recent 4-0 thrashing over Real Sociedad with a knee problem, but he is set to return to the starting line-up at Westfalenstadion.
Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti was quick to cool fears over the Portuguese forward’s injury during a news conference after the 3-0 win over Dortmund, as reported by The Guardian, saying:
It's a slight knee problem and I'm not worried about it. If the niggle, which at the moment is not a worry, continues we can rest him, but the player is relaxed. I took him off 10 minutes before the end and there is no reason to worry.
Ronaldo was indeed rested, and in his absence, Bale stole the show with a commanding performance and a second-half wonder goal to inflict Sociedad’s third home defeat since November 2012.
When Bale reunites with Ronaldo on Tuesday, the usual fireworks are expected. The pair make up two-thirds of the BBC trio—Bale, Benzema, Cristiano—that strikes fear into opposition defences across Europe.
Karim Benzema has four Champions League goals this season, while Bale has five, taking the BBC’s total to 23 for the campaign. If they can take their first-leg form to Germany, then expect their total to tick over the 25 mark.
According to Fussball Datenbank, Borussia Dortmund haven’t found the net against Madrid since their famous 4-1 semi-final victory last season.
Madrid won the reverse leg 2-0 that season before their recent 3-0 victory, with five different goalscorers finding the net.
Robert Lewandowski will return to the Borussia Dortmund line-up after he was suspended for the first leg in Madrid.
The Polish striker recently notched his 17th league goal of the season against Wolfsburg, as the Bundesliga’s official Twitter feed reported:
Lewandowski scored all four goals for Dortmund in last year’s semi-final, and he comes into Tuesday’s match in good form—scoring six goals in this season’s competition according to UEFA.com.
While Lewandowski’s return will undoubtedly give the visitors a boost, the task in front of them will surely be too much even with a full-strength side set to line up.
Madrid will take some stopping in this year’s Champions League, and having not claimed the trophy since the 2001/02 season, the Bernabeu outfit will be more determined than ever on their hunt for European glory.