Record-breaking night awaits as Madrid hosts Dortmund
It could be a night of records at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium today. In addition to trying to win their Champions League group, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will also be looking to make history when they meet in their final Group F match.
One draw and Madrid will equal the club’s longest unbeaten run of 34 games in all competitions. One goal and Dortmund will match the most goals ever scored in the tournament’s group stage - 20.
On a personal level, Cristiano Ronaldo can become the first player to score 100 times in European competitions if he is able to score twice. Madrid is in position to equal the unbeaten record set under coach Leo Beenhakker in the late 1980s. It would then be five short of Barcelona’s Spanish record of 39 consecutive games without a loss, set last year.
Madrid hasn’t been defeated since April at Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals of last season’s Champions League. Dortmund has a chance to become the fourth club to score 20 goals in the group stage. And if it scores two or more goals, it will surpass the mark set by Madrid in 2013-14, Barcelona in 2011-12 and Manchester United in 1998-99. Dortmund scored at least once in every group game so far, and it has a shot at the record thanks mostly to routs against Legia Warsaw - 6-0 in Poland and 8-4 in Germany.
Ronaldo’s 100th goal has eluded him for some time - he hasn’t scored in Champions League play since a 2-2 draw at Dortmund in September. Madrid scored 10 goals in the three matches since then, but none came from Ronaldo.
The Portugal forward has averaged a goal per game in the Champions League while playing with Madrid, with 80 goals from as many matches. He has scored only two in this season’s group stage, his worst mark since joining the Spanish club.
Here’s a look at the groups playing today:
Monaco has secured first place and Bayer Leverkusen is guaranteed second, but Tottenham needs at least a draw against CSKA Moscow at Wembley Stadium to finish third and earn a spot in the Europa League. “We haven’t won yet at Wembley, we want to finish with a win and give something back to the fans,” Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen said. The English side routed Swansea 5-0 in the Premier League this weekend to rebound from two consecutive losses.
Leverkusen will be without injured midfielder Kevin Kampl for the home match against Monaco.
“We would like to finish the group undefeated, which would be a first for us,” Bayer coach Roger Schmidt said.
Madrid hosts Dortmund trailing the German side by two points, so only a victory will secure first place in the group.
But the defending champions arrive boosted by an eight-game winning streak at the Bernabeu in the European competition. Madrid has won 28 of their last 32 home matches in the tournament, with the only loss coming against Schalke in the 2014-15 season.
Dortmund will be without Mario Goetze because of a minor injury. “(Winning the group) would top off this outstanding opening round,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said. “It would be the icing on the cake.”
In the other match, Sporting Lisbon needs at least a draw at Legia Warsaw to secure third place and a spot in the Europa League.
FC Porto has to beat Leicester to advance without depending on other results, but winning hasn’t been easy for the Portuguese side recently.
The last-minute victory over Sporting Braga in the Portuguese league on Saturday was the team’s first since Nov. 2.
Porto is second in the group, behind already qualified Leicester. It loses the head-to-head tiebreaker to FC Copenhagen on away goals, so if it fails to win and Copenhagen defeats Club Brugge - which has yet to win a point the Portuguese side will be eliminated.
Lyon needs to beat Sevilla at home by a two-goal margin to advance and leave France with three teams in the last 16 for the first time. PSG and Monaco have already qualified.
“Few thought we would still be alive ahead of the last game,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. “We now have a final to play and to win.” Juventus has already advanced and a win against Dinamo Zagreb will secure first place. — AP
LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino (3L) tackles English striker Harry Kane and English defender Kieran Trippier during a training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, north-east of London, yesterday. — AFP
MADRID: Dortmund’s head coach Thomas Tuchel gives a press conference at the Santiago Berbabeu stadium in Madrid yesterday, on the eve of the UEFA Champions league football match Real Madrid CF vs Borussia Dortmund. — AFP