Real Madrid dropped again in the Champions League match, but at least this time they were playing well against Borussia Moenchengladbach when it happened. Late goals by Karim Benzema and Casemiro netted a 2-2 draw and there are many talking points to discuss from sharing spoils that don’t make anyone really happy.
1. Will this trip be as difficult as the last one to Mönchengladbach?
Real Madrid and Monchengladbach have a history, a special history for the Spanish team. One of Los Blancos’ greatest comebacks ever came against the German team in the 1985/86 European Cup when Real Madrid lost 5-1 away at the old Rennes stadium and then won 4-0 at the Bernabeu, thanks to two Jorge Valdano headers and two Santillana strikes. Late, the second came in the 89th minute. This led to their advance in scoring away goals in the tournament they ultimately won, but these teams have not played since. So how will it go this time? Well, there was another comeback. It might not have meant the same thing as in the 1980s, but the late goals from Benzema and Casemiro made a big point for Real Madrid and certainly brought back horrific memories to Borussia fans who still remember the UEFA Cup transformation.
2. Does he play Hazard at all?
Eden Hazard was in Real Madrid’s traveling squad for this match, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will play. It was unlikely to start and this has proven to be the case. Then, with the way the match was going, there was a chance Zinedine Zidane wouldn’t use it at all because this was not the kind of cool and relaxing match where you would like to facilitate the player’s return to things. But the Frenchman threw Hazard in the end and looked really good, even close to scoring just minutes after he came. Perhaps the best news is that he is not looking afraid, as that was true of the way Hazard returned from the ankle injuries he suffered last season. Remember that this was a different kind of injury that kept him on the sidelines this time and seemed to be confident in his body. This is very good news.
3. How will Lucas Vásquez perform at right-back?
With Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Urdriozola and Nacho injured, it was up to Lucas Vásquez to fill in the right-back again in this match, just as he did in El Clásico when he came after Nacho was injured. In El Clasico, he was really good. Can he repeat this performance? Somewhat. The Spaniard was very good in the first half and did a lot in attack, while still doing his defensive duties well. He could have performed better against Marcus Thuram on every goal, that’s right. However, there were much bigger defensive problems with each of those goals than Lucas did. And the thing that won’t be mentioned is that Lucas did a decent job against Thuram most of the night. Given that he was the fourth choice at right back, that wasn’t a bad effort.
1. How complex are Real Madrid’s chances of qualifying?
“If we play this way, then I am sure it will work out for us and we will finish this group.” This is what Zinedine Zidane said in his post-match press conference, and he was correct to some extent. Real Madrid may be out of this group. Not because they were good, because they clearly didn’t because they only took one point out of the first six available. But I’ve been saying the whole time this is the low death group, and this could actually play into Real Madrid because all the teams are so strong that they’ll get points off each other. We have already seen that, through the fact that Real Madrid score two poor results and that they are in last place with one point while at the same time they are only three points ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, who are in first place by four points and only one point behind two. Inter and Borussia Monchengladbach. Still in Los Blancos hands.
2. How does Zidane fit with Fedi Valverde in the squad?
He may have been poor at the end of the 2019/20 season, after coming back from the coronavirus lockdown, but Fede Valverde has started the new season perfectly. So did Luka Modric, so how does Zidane fit both in the squad? Last season, the coach could basically play Casemiro, Toni Kroos and one of the Croatian or Uruguayan side, but now maybe he has to play all four. Four midfielders rarely played, as he tended to play for three or five, but perhaps the time has come to try out the midfield trio of Valverde, Casemiro and Kroos, with Modric ahead in what would eventually become Odegaard’s role.
3. When will Real Madrid play in front of the fans again?
Even though this was an away match and the fans would, in theory, be unfavorable to Real Madrid, I’m sure most of them were sad when they learned that 10804 tickets sold for this match would not be used in the end. The high number of cases in Mönchengladbach meant that fans were unable to attend this match in Borussia Park and that is a great shame. The Champions League is special and fans braving the cold winter nights in the middle of the week make it so. Let’s hope that comes back soon, even if it’s Real Madrid’s matches.
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