Real Madrid 2-2 Dortmund: The Player Ratings
They came, they saw and and they so nearly conquered. The “wasp army” of Dortmund or so it seemed from their distinctive yellow and black dress put on a mightily impressive display on Real Madrid’s home turf yesterday. If not not for a late piece of magic from the boots of Mesut Ozil, the Germans looked on course to take all 3 points from the Bernabeu.
The draw in this game coupled with another at the City of Manchester stadium between Manchester City and Ajax, leaves Real and Borussia in prime position to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition. All said and done, let’s look at the performances of each player involved in the game.
GK-Iker Casillas (5/10)
The ever so dependable custodian wasn’t his usual self in the game. The atrocious defense didn’t really help his cause. Casillas was responsible for the first goal, where he was beaten at the near post by a Marco Reus pile driver. The Spanish ‘capitan’ looked indecisive coming out for the second goal as Gotze found himself in ample space within the penalty box.
LB-Alvaro Arbeloa (4/10)
Even at full strength, Arbeloa remains the biggest chink in the armour of the Real Madrid defense whilst positioned at his usual right back. Playing the unfamiliar role of left back due various non-availabilities proved to be too steep a task for the Spaniard as he was caught out of position several times and seemingly at sea against the rapid movement of Borussia’s players. The second goal, when confirmed to have been an own goal from the feet of the Spaniard, was the final nail in the coffin regarding his performance in this one.
CB- Pepe (6.5/10)
A goal from the Portuguese international and a very good one at that saves the blushes of the Portuguese international. It was an uninspiring performance from another of the Real Madrid stalwarts. The leader of the backline was taken out from his comfort zone in the game by the brilliant runs of Lewandowski. Caught out of position several times, Pepe lost out on two vital aerial challenges to the Polish striker which lead to both the goals.
CB-Raphaël Varane (6/10)
The young Frenchman looked the most assured amongst the four in the backline but even he seems to be heckled by the pace and ferocity of Dortmund attacks. Can put this in the bag called ‘experience’ and certainly one for the future. A superb last ditch tackle on the rampaging Gundogan showed a glimpse of what he holds for the future.
RB-Sergio Ramos (5.5/10)
The reshuffle at the back saw Ramos at right-back, a position he generally holds for his national side. His performance left a lot to be desired as he was found wanting in his positioning sense and having an array of difficulties handling the counter-attacks from Dortmund. The Germans had a field day on the left hand side of the pitch due to his inconsistent performance.
CM-Mesut Özil (7/10)
Two pieces of left footed wizardry from the German saw Real Madrid salvage a point from the game. The first goal was set up by a beautiful delivery into the box by the German playmaker. The goal from the free-kick was the answer to the prayers of probably a million Los Blancos fans when all seemed to be lost. Apart from these two incidents, he was effective for only certain periods of the game while drifting away from time to time.
CM-Xabi Alonso (7/10)
The Spaniard had 111 touches in the game, more than any one in the game and put on the most impressive midfield performance out of all the men playing in white. Long diagonals to Di Maria and Ronaldo were a feature of his game but had to do too much in the first half with Modric proving to be ineffective. The introduction of Essien made him more comfortable as he began dictating play in the latter half.
CM-Luka Modric (5/10)
The ex-Spurs midfielder hasn’t been able to find his feet under the bright lights of Madrid and this game was no different. Looked to be all over the place and wasn’t able to affect the game in the way we are used to see the Croat do. Consequently subbed at halftime. Is this going to be another case of another big name bucking under the pressure of playing for Real?
RWM/F- Ángel Di María (6.5/10)
The Argentine couldn’t get Marcel Schmelzer to falter especially in the first half as Madrid’s wingmen couldn’t garner many opportunities for their side. With Essien and Alonso coming into the game, Di Maria enjoyed more space to operate but nothing there nothing much from him that caught the eye.
LWM/F- Cristiano Ronaldo (6/10)
This was one result the Los Merengues had to pull off without much help from their superstar. The German side did a good job of swarming him whenever he looked to threaten in the first half as Ronaldo saw himself rolling on the ground more than he would have liked. The second half saw him in a more central role, but never the menace that he usually is. A game he would like to put at the back of his mind. Missed a point blank opportunity.
ST-Gonzalo Higuaín (5/10)
A non factor in the game. Wasted an early opportunity as he let the ball roll across his body. Looked shaky at best and non-decisive with his movements, didn’t provide anything for the Dortmund defense to worry about as he kept on holding his hamstring time and again. Subbed off at the half.
His introduction in the game provided a much needed impetus in the Real offense and a sense of urgency which was reciprocated throughout the side. He nearly struck gold with his first shot on goal minutes into the first half, but was unlucky to have his effort ruled offside. His strong and direct running gave the Real offense a dimension it was missing in the first half.
Michael Essien (7/10)
The Ghanaian lent the Madrid midfield a balance they lacked early on. Strong on the ball and provided the good cover to the vulnerable backline alongside Alonso. He was instrumental in allowing players like Callejón and Ozil to express themselves in the final third.
GK-Roman Weidenfeller (6.5/10)
Bravery is an important trait for a goalkeeper and that was sorely missed when he was called upon action for the Ozil free-kick. The German keeper seemed to flinch as he anticipated a clash with the post and let in a vital goal. Apart from that he made a number of impressive saves including one when Callejón found himself 1-on-1 with him while another point blank effort from Ronaldo. Helpless on the first goal.
LB-Marcel Schmelzer (7/10)
Had a solid game at the back. Forced Casillas into an early save when he shot from an acute angle. Throttled a Higuain chance at the very beginning of the game when it seemed the Argentine would have a good crack on goal. Was out-jumped by Pepe for the first goal, who had a running start on him.
CB-Mats Hummels (8/10)
It takes a lot to bog down an offensive line-up such as Madrid’s and Hummels was a part of a Centre back pairing which did just that. Had a good positioning sense, covered up any gaps that was left by any of his defensive comrades while winning most of the balls in the air(67%). Even when Ronaldo was moved to a central role, the Portuguese didn’t have it much his way.
CB-Neven Subotic (7.5/10)
The Serbian also put in a stellar effort at the back alongside his German counterpart. An early challenge when he seemed to have a clear sight on goal typified his effort at the back. Doubled up on any Real player who looked to breakout in the final third . Was caught off-guard once when Higuain was able to escape his attention but Ronaldo couldn’t profit from his cross.
RB - ?ukasz Piszczek (7/10)
The Polish right back had to deal with Ronaldo in the first half mostly and deal he did. Another vital part of the Borussia backline who gets out of the game with his head held high. Rarely ventured into the Real half.
CM-Sebastian Kehl (7.5/10)
Its one thing playing through the pain barrier,quite another when playing with such a handicap against the star studded midfield of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. Kehl certainly came up trumps in his match-ups and put in a Captain’s performance even with a facial injury. Provided the perfect screen for the Dortmund defense and broke up play countless number of times. The invisible hero.
CM-Ilkay Gündogan (6.5/10)
Didn’t show much interest in the offensive side of things. Kept to his task of providing Kehl company in midfield and proving to be a nuisance at the middle of the park. Toiled hard for the team’s cause.
CAM-Mario Götze (7.5/10)
A menace going forward, the young German gave the Real defense no respite from his constant energy and effective runs. He may still have to wait for his first UCL goal but the own goal was created due his persistence and presence. Kept the Madrid side pegged back.
LM- Kevin Großkreutz (7.5/10)
Immensely impressive in his running with as well as without the ball. Produced a rocket that Casillas did well to parry in the early goings. Set up the second goal with his cross into the box. A goal line clearance near the end of the game proved vital and indicative of his industrious work.
RM-Marco Reus (8/10)
The young German midfielder is quietly making a name for himself on the footballing map. His impressive showing in the game does his cause no harm at all. His pace kept the Madrid defense honest and hit them hard on a counter attack near the half-hour mark to put the visitors in front with a ferocious volley.The second half didn’t let us see much of that flair as Dortmund tried to hold on to the lead.
ST-Robert Lewandowski (7/10)
Did whatever you can ask for a sole man up top, without having a clear cut chance fall his way.The Polish front man won two decisive aerial duels with Pepe as both were instrumental to setting up the goals. Lead the line well and kept working the channels.
Sven Bender (6.5/10)
Replaced the instrumental Reus to provide more steel at the centre of the park. A crunching tackle on Ronaldo just as he looked to bear down towards goal was just an essence of what he was brought in to do. Did it well.