Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid: 6 Things We Learned

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistApril 8, 2014

Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid: 6 Things We Learned

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    Real Madrid scraped through.
    Real Madrid scraped through.Martin Meissner

    Real Madrid were beaten 2-0 on the night by Borussia Dortmund and could have been knocked out of the Champions League.

    Only the woodwork prevented the German side from scoring another and possibly reaching the semi-finals themselves, eventually being eliminated 3-2 on aggregate.

    We look at the lessons from a thrilling quarter-final clash which Madrid just did enough in to survive and keep their La Decima dream alive.

Pepe Is Always Capable of Letting You Down

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    Pepe made a big mistake for the first goal.
    Pepe made a big mistake for the first goal.Martin Meissner

    In the last few matches, Pepe has been at the top of his game.

    The Portuguese centre-back is often criticised for his bad behaviour on the field but has been keeping that in check lately.

    However, he made a poor mistake against Sevilla which contributed to his team's downfall ,and he was at fault again on Tuesday night.

    He tried to head the ball back to his goalkeeper but sold Iker Casillas short and Marco Reus rolled in behind him to open the scoring.

    The second goal was not very impressive either, as Pepe was caught by a burst of pace from Robert Lewandowski.

    Sergio Ramos didn't have a night to remember either, looking nervous for a player of his experience.

Gareth Bale Is Not a Big-Game Player

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    Gareth Bale couldn't make the difference.
    Gareth Bale couldn't make the difference.Martin Meissner

    This was a chance for the Welshman to step it up and show his mettle.

    We've seen him put two past the likes of Rayo Vallecano and three in the back of Valladolid's net.

    But his performances against Barcelona and against Atletico have left plenty to be desired.

    He is still to make a real impact on a big game for Real Madrid.

    With Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench and the team going 2-0 down, this was the opportunity.

    Yet he flattered to deceive once again.

    Bale hasn't had a bad start to career at Real Madrid, but they bought him to perform in games like these.

Ronaldo's Knee Injury May Be More Serious Than Claimed

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    Star man Ronaldo stayed on the bench.
    Star man Ronaldo stayed on the bench.Martin Meissner

    Cristiano Ronaldo was meant to play in this game, according to Carlo Ancelotti last week.

    But at the start of his training session on Monday, Ronaldo pulled out because of his knee problem, which saw him rested at the weekend when Madrid played Real Sociedad.

    With Carlo Ancelotti's team 2-0 down, you thought Ronaldo, who was on the bench, would be introduced.

    But the Italian went for Isco instead as they scrambled for a precious away goal to turn the tide back in their favour.

    Next on was Casemiro for Angel di Maria, with Ronaldo still yet to warm up.

    And Raphael Varane was the last to enter the fray, with the star of the team kicking his heels on the bench.

Dortmund Prove They Can Regenerate

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    Reus struck twice but still got knocked out.
    Reus struck twice but still got knocked out.Martin Meissner

    Atletico Madrid are very good at rebuilding after bigger clubs take their star men.

    They did it with Radamel Falcao after Sergio Aguero left and with Diego Costa after the Colombian departed.

    Dortmund are having to learn to do the same, having been forced to sell two of their finest playmakers in Shinji Kagawa and Mario Gotze to Manchester United and Bayern Munich in recent years but still playing at high levels in Europe.

    Marco Reus was the star against Real Madrid, scoring twice and threatening on various occasions.

    However, he was also booked for a shoddy attempt at a dive.

Shooting Practice Is Needed for Both Teams

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    Di Maria messed up from the spot.
    Di Maria messed up from the spot.Frank Augstein

    Real Madrid and Dortmund both had brilliant opportunities to score and fluffed their lines.

    First was Angel Di Maria, who slipped as he shot a poor penalty at Roman Weidenfeller's goal, which the shot-stopper repelled.

    That could have given Madrid a crucial away goal and killed the tie.

    He was not alone in missing a key opportunity.

    Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a wonderful chance for Dortmund, beating Casillas but crashing a shot off the frame of the goal.

    Trophies are won and lost on margins and fractional measurements like these.

Madrid Are Wavering at the Crucial Moment

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    Ancelotti's men aren't as confident as they were.
    Ancelotti's men aren't as confident as they were.Alvaro Barrientos

    Real Madrid scraped through this encounter by the skin of their teeth, but their decline in recent weeks has been worrying.

    Barcelona beat them in El Clasico and then Sevilla did their league hopes more harm.

    A couple of good results against lesser sides cannot hide the fact that they appear to be wilting under the pressure.

    There is still time to find their balance and composure in time for the semi-final, which threatens to be against an extremely tough opponent.

    Jose Mourinho's Chelsea lie in wait, along with possibly their arch-rivals Barcelona or the best team in the world, Bayern Munich.