Borussia Dortmund 4 - 1 Real Madrid (UEFA Champions League, Semi-finanls, 1st Leg)

Real Madrid thrive on adversity, on the big occasions and in the biggest stadiums. It is something that is embedded in the badge and that they have shown throughout their history. It was seen at the Camp Nou in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey, at Old Trafford and is what they will try to repeat on Tuesday at the Bernabeu. Lewandowski, with four goals, played a starring role for Borussia Dortmund. The Polish striker put his team ahead on the scoreboard, while Cristiano Ronaldo, just before halftime, equalised. The three goals that came in the second half, one of them following a harsh penalty decision against Xabi Alonso, made winning the semi-final an uphill struggle. The magic and mystique surrounding Real Madrid’s stadium on big European nights will be needed to take its team to Wembley in less than a week.

Lewandowski celebrates a goal against Real Madrid
Lewandowski, the Borussia's hero

Borussia Dortmund were aware that doing well would depend on imposing a high tempo in the opening minutes. The Germans, supported by their home crowd, squeezed the Whites’ ball out of the back and it produced the desired results. Reus was the first to have an attempt following a fine solo run. The great full-stretch save from Diego Lopez denied the goal in the 6th minute. The first goal came two minutes later. Gotze’s cross came in from the left for Lewandowski to poke it in and put his team in front.


Real Madrid 3 - 1 Betis (Spanish League, Day 32)

Real Madrid once again showed that they head into each of their matches with confidence and defeated Betis, who arrived at the Bernabeu as the third best team in terms of points won away from home in the championship, four days before the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals at the Signal Iduna Park. Özil’s goal on the edge of halftime was key, causing significant damage to the team from Andalusia. In the second half Benzema completed a brilliant counter-attack and extending his team’s lead in the fifty-seventh minute, while Jorge Molina, from a penalty, halved the lead in the seventy-third minute. Özil, scoring his second goal one minute from the end of normal time, knocking a volley by Callejon over the line, sealed his team’s victory. Seventh consecutive victory at the Bernabeu and an outstanding debut by Casemiro. The only downside was Marcelo, Modric and Benzema being withdrawn due to niggles. Borussia Dortmund await on Wednesday.

Two goals from Özil
Two goals from Özil and a win over Betis

Four days before the first leg of the semi-finals of the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid faced Betis at an impregnable Santiago Bernabéu, where the team are unbeaten in 15 months. There were many new faces in the Whites’ starting XI, among them the debutant Casemiro, against an opponent that before the start of the matchday were the third best team in terms of points away from home in the championship and two points away from the European places. The clash got off to a vibrant start. The visitors were the first to create a chance. A corner taken by Beñat and an impressive stretching save by Diego Lopez after the shot from Nosa in the eighth minute. Ruben Castro made the most of the rebound and knocked the ball over the line, but referee Alvarez Izquierdo ruled the goal out due to it being scored from a clear offside position. Real Madrid did not take long to react and a minute later Casemiro, who was very active, caused problems for Adrian with a volley from 25 metres.

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