An intense Clásico left Real Madrid partially satisfied with the final result. Now it’s time to play for the top spot of the UEFA Champions League group with Borussia Dortmund. The Bundesliga team crushed their rival 4-1 over the weekend, but continue to sit on the sixth spot on the table. It’s a different in this competition since they are two points ahead of Real. They still won’t make it an easy night.
Preferred Formation: 4-4-2
Zinedine Zidane proved once again he definitely has good luck. His substitutions weren’t influential over the weekend and he must take note of that. Some players are not the appropriate level required for top matches. Benzema is contributing very little and it’s not fair if there are others hungry for minutes. Same goes for Casemiro, who has to get his form back and doing so against tough rivals is risky.
GK: Keylor Navas
Luis Suárez was very close and he couldn’t react in time to save that goal. His stats have significantly declined this season compared to the last. He’s conceded seven goals in five games. He needs to get back on track.
RB: Dani Carvajal
Danilo isn’t a threat. Nacho or youngster Tejero are more likely to give strong performances than the Brazilian. Still, the coach is bound to give him a chance soon, but not on this game.
CB: Raphaël Varane
He’s been improving lately, a drastic change from his inconsistent start of the season. Even though it may be surprising, he has the same number of goals as Ronaldo in the UCL. This gives him a slight edge over his competitors.
CB: Sergio Ramos
The captain has trademarked last-minute goals in the past couple of years. He understands the responsibility of wearing this shirt. This will keep him in the lineup even though Pepe and Nacho are knocking at the door.
Dortmund’s attackers are strong, so he must move forward with caution. Coentrão is once again mysteriously disappearing from the call-ups. Only Nacho would come in for him, yet this match is more in tone for the #12.
RM: Lucas Vázquez
Without Gareth Bale, he’s the only one that can provide some electricity from the wing. James doesn’t seem necessary for the boss, so unless that changes, Lucas will continue to play until he needs some rest.
RCM: Luka Modrić
He was the driving force in a hostile ground. He provided his first assist to Sergio Ramos since the one in the UCL final in Lisbon. For the pursuit of the three points, it’s a no-brainer to have him start.
LCM: Mateo Kovačić
Casemiro will really have to fight Mateo if he wants his role back. The Croatian is delivering strong showings on every game. On top of that, he’s much better with the ball on his feet than the South American.
He was noticeably mad after being replaced by Casemiro at the Camp Nou. The #14 isn’t pleasantly surprising anyone after his return. Despite being key against Dortmund two years ago, if the team wants the top spot, Isco’s presence fits better.
It’s no secret that Zizou has a soft spot for Benzema, he’s a fellow countryman and has always been some sort of protégé. Nevertheless, his performances as of late have been poor. Mariano’s odds are low, but it would be fair.
ST: Cristiano Ronaldo
Like Messi, he appeared in flashes on Saturday. He’s only scored two goals in this tournament compared to his competitor’s nine goals. However, he has provided four assists. It’s time to score again.