Traditionally, I approach articles about “keys” to match-ups by analyzing battles between individual players. Whichever player wins the fight normally provides an insight into which team will eventually win the game.
In this article, I’m going a different direction, analyzing the over-arching issues that should play into the match. While I’ll spend a bit of time talking about individual players, I’m going to focus on broader issues each team will have to deal with.
This was not an easy article to write, especially considering my love of both teams—I’ve fallen in love with Spurs over the last couple of seasons, and am extremely excited to watch them play. I would have preferred almost any other draw to Spurs in this round—with the obvious examples of Shakhtar and Schalke—and have had a hard time finding ways to crack their code, so to speak.
Spurs are an exciting, fast-paced team that isn't scared to mix it up inside, and then flank teams with astounding pace on the wings. Madrid play a very similar style, but with more talent in the back and in the very front. Both teams will play for the jugular and, though I give a slight advantage to Madrid, I cannot say that I’d be shocked if Spurs pulled out a good result from the Bernabéu.
This will be a tricky round for Madrid, and will ultimately be decided by some combination of these next few factors (I decided not to include “Away Goals” as a factor, simply because it’s too obvious).