Dec 5, 2016
Dec 5, 2016

UCL game of the week: Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund

UCL game of the week: Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund
Although numerous teams have already qualified for this year’s UEFA Champions League knockout stage, there is a lot to play for in the last round of group games. First place in Group F is still up for grabs, but will it be Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund who top the group? Read on to find out.

With Dortmund on 13 points and Real Madrid on 11, both sides are guaranteed qualification into the knockout phase. Only a win for Madrid will see them top the group and gain the advantage of playing a second placed team in the last 16. Can they take all three points off their Group F rivals?

Goals galore

Both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have been in free-scoring form so far this season. Madrid have averaged 2.85 goals per game (GPG) in all competitions and 2.8 GPG in the Champions League. Dortmund have averaged an equally impressive 2.79 GPG in all competitions and an incredible 3.8 GPG in the UCL.

When you consider the reverse fixture ended in a 2-2 draw and the fact that Madrid have scored in every game they’ve played this season, over 3 goals at 1.769* might be the most obvious option for bettors.

Contrasting league form

Borussia Dortmund might be slightly outperforming Real Madrid in the Champions League so far, but it is the Spanish side that are enjoying a better domestic campaign. In fact, Los Blancos are one of only four teams in the UCL to remain unbeaten in their league and the only side still unbeaten in all competitions.

A dramatic last minute equaliser against Barcelona kept Madrid top of La Liga, while a 4-1 win for Dortmund against Borussia Mönchengladbach was only good enough to keep them sixth in the Bundesliga. The Germans have already lost three games in the league season, just one fewer than the total number of games they lost last year.

Important players

Although both teams have scored plenty of goals this season, somewhat surprisingly, the main strikers don’t appear to be the most influential players. The 10 goals scored by Ronaldo in La Liga and 15 from Aubameyang in the Bundesliga show they are two quality players, but they have only managed two and three goals respectively in the UCL.

Madrid’s recent success appears to be built on a strong midfield pairing of Toni Kroos and Mateo Kovacic. The two work in tandem and have found a perfect balance of supporting of Ronaldo and co., whilst protecting Varane and Ramos at the back.

Los Blancos are one of only four teams in the UCL to remain unbeaten in their league and the only side still unbeaten in all competitions.

Similarly for Dortmund, it is the midfield that has been important this year. Ousmane Dembele was relatively unknown when he signed for €15m from French side Rennes. Now in his debut Bundesliga season, the 19-year-old has already shown he is a great dribbler, passer and can score a few goals.

In addition to his three goals and five assists in the league, Dembele has scored one goal in the UCL and managed to assist five goals for his teammates in the competition. The Frenchman's role is a vital one, Marco Rues and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are still the main men at Dortmund, but Dembele bridges the gap between that lethal attack and their solid midfield. 

Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund might be a tough one to call, but it should certainly be an entertaining spectacle. Madrid head into the fixture in better form and with home field advantage, so their 1.943* odds aren’t as short as one might expect. A draw shouldn’t be ruled out at 3.860* and neither should a Dortmund upset at 4.060*.

Will the game live up to expectation? Only time will tell.

Get the best odds on all Champions League betting at Pinnacle.

*Odds are subject to change.
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