My favorite part about the Champions League is the chance to see some of Europe’s giants battle across national lines. Tuesday night, we were privileged to see two of the most popular teams in the world face off as Real Madrid took on Borussia Dortmund in Germany. The two sides both won their opening group matches with BvB thrashing Legia Warsaw 6-0, and Real narrowly sneaking by Sporting CP 1-0. In this blockbuster matchup, could either side find a way to snag all three points?
After a spirited start to the match that saw both sides try their luck a couple of times, Real Madrid opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Despite Gareth Bale’s back-heel pass taking a slight deflection near the six-yard box, the ball still managed to sneak its way to a waiting Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star was never going to miss from that range, and his powerful finish gave the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
Despite what the scoreboard read, Dortmund were arguably the more dangerous of the sides for large spurts of the first half. Less than ten minutes after Ronaldo’s goal, Ousmane Dembélé looked set to score the equalizer, but a deflection took his shot over the bar. In the 43rd minute, BvB found their goal. After Raphael Guerreiro’s free kick was batted away by Keylor Navas, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took advantage of a deflection off Raphaël Varane to tap home from inches out.
For a moment in first half injury time, Ronaldo thought he had put Madrid back into the lead, but his headed goal was called back for offsides. After seeing the replay, it was a great spot by the linesman, and the sides went into the break deadlocked at 1-1.
In the 68th minute, Los Blancos took the lead again, and this time it counted. Ronaldo sent in a cross to the back post and Karim Benzema was unlucky not to put away his first Champions League goal of the season. The Frenchman’s close range effort hit the woodwork twice, but the rebound fell to Varane who atoned for his earlier mistake and put the visitors up 2-1.
Two minutes later Guerreiro tried his luck with a thunderous drive from just outside the 18-yard box, but Navas provided a strong save to push away the effort. Dortmund continued to push for an equalizer, and 18-year-old American Christian Pulisic was even brought on in the 73rd minute to try and change the match.
The American created a chance in the 83rd minute when his tight angle shot was spilled by Navas, but luckily for Madrid Dani Carvajal was quick to clear away the danger. Moments later, fellow teenager Emre Mor forced Navas into a low diving save from just outside the box.
After a period of sustained pressure from the hosts, they finally found the back of the net in the 87th minute. Again Pulisic was involved, and after Aubameyang whiffed on an acrobatic effort from the cross, André Schürrle hammered home a lovely effort into the roof of the net.
A late scramble in Madrid’s penalty area capped off the action, and Schürrle’s goal proved to be the final one of the night. A 2-2 draw sees both sides retain their spots a top the group, with Dortmund sitting in first through goal differential. There was a lot of hype going into this match, but somehow it lived up to expectations. Next up for BvB are back-to-back fixtures against Sporting, while Madrid face an easier run of European matches against Legia Warsaw. Despite the dropped points on Tuesday, both sides have to be considered the favorites to advance from the group.