Real Madrid have been beaten on their last three visits to Dortmund. Thomas Tuchel says his side have a ‘positive aura’ while Real boss Zinedine Zidane is worried about his team’s dip in form ahead of Tuesday’s match.
European champions Real Madrid will be looking to put right a miserable record in both Dortmund and Germany in one of the stand out ties of the Champions League group stage on Tuesday.
The Spanish side have been beaten on their last three visits to Signal Iduna Park, including Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski-inspired 4-1 semifinal win in 2013, and have picked up just four wins from their 29 trips to Germany. That record, combined with Dortmund’s red-hot form(four consecutive wins in which they have scored 20 goals) breeds belief in the Bundesliga runners up, according to head coach Thomas Tuchel.
“We gained a lot of confidence in the previous games,” he said on Monday. “We scored lots of goals, created a lot of chances and didn’t allow too many chances (against us.)
“Our team currently has a very positive aura,” he added. “They show great impetus and they’re able to focus.”
While Dortmund cruised to a 6-0 win over Legia Warsaw in their Group F opener, Real needed two late goals to overcome Sporting Lisbon 3-2. And it was with an eye on Tuesday night’s game that Real boss Zinedine Zidane removed his star man Cristiano Ronaldo after 70 minutes of Saturday’s underwhelming La Liga draw at Las Palmas. It was a move that proved a source of some consternation for the Portuguese forward, who looked furious as he left the field.
“I took him off because we have an important match on Tuesday, and because he needs to rest for that,” Zidane said after the match. “We are playing well in general, but we have dropped our concentration in defence at certain important moments,” he said of Real’s recent dip in form.
Tuchel was less convinced by Ronaldo’s perceived troubles: “Cristiano is not in form? Who am I say,” Tuchel said. “He is one of the best footballers in the world, a winner. We expect (to see) him at his best.”
The Dortmund boss called for tactical discipline from his players and said he hoped to use the pace of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele to unsettle Real.
Aubameyang was among several players who had been an injury doubt for Tuesday’s clash but like Marc Bartra, Andre Schürrle and Adrian Ramos, he has been passed fit. The visitors will be without defensive midfielder Casemiro, who is expected to be out until the new year with a fractured fibula, while defenders Pepe and Marcelo are both fitness doubts for the European champions.
Tuesday’s match kicks off a series of Germany v Spain clashes in the Champions League this week. On Wednesday Bayern Munich face 2016 runners up Atletico Madrid in Spain while Borussia Mönchengladbach host Barcelona on the same night.