When Andre Schurrle settled a Carvajal block coming off a Christian Pulisic cross, Raphael Varane tried to get square with the German’s incoming shot (not the most heroic attempt), but it was to no avail. Schurrle ripped a blazer just under the left side of the crossbar and had cemented his side’s second comeback of the night. Final score: 2-2.
Borussia Dortmund had just delivered Los Blancos’ their third straight draw across all competitions. After the match, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane spoke of his side’s performance, per Football Espana:
“The players played a great match, the result is a difficult one to accept because we deserved a bit more, but it is not a bad result. It was complete in every sense but the shame is it is three games in a row now we have drawn. When you concede three minutes from the end it hurts, especially given the effort the players put in.”
If you watched the game, it is hard to disagree with the former World Cup winner’s assessment of his side’s performance. This was arguably Real Madrid’s best performance of the season for a full 90 minutes.
To put it simply, the hosts came out to a loud and passionate Wesfalenstadion crowd and ate it up. The Germans pressed up high in many numbers and used great 3v3 pressing to make it really hard for the visitors to play out the back. Los Blancos didn’t panic, however.
Ronaldo and Co. were prepared for this blitzkrieg of German intensity and opted to play their safe and sound 4-4-1-1 formation. They welcomed the pressure and in the 17th minute, on a quick counter-attack, the great Ronaldo scored and put his side ahead. The hosts carried on with their game plan despite being down.
As it happened, two minutes before the end of the first-half, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pounced on Keylor Navas’s poor punch-away and put Dortmund level 1-1. In the second, the tables turned, however, and Varane took advantage of his side’s rejuvenated second-half display and scored with a little more than twenty minutes left in the game.
By then it was looking like this was going to be Real Madrid’s night, the night they showed the world they can truly rise up to the stiffest of European opposition this season and put average domestic displays behind them. Schurrle, as mentioned above, didn’t care for all that.
Read on for Real Madrid player ratings.
Keylor Navas – 7
The Costa Rican had a solid display, especially in the first-half. Navas found himself putting his side in good position for the potential win and eventual draw when he denied two excellent Dortmund shots. He would have received an 8 had his side won or had he not thought he was a professional boxer and given an easy goal to Aubameyang.
Danilo – 6
I may be harsh on the Brazilian here, and yes he provided a balanced left-back performance with key interceptions and good attacking sense, but he also let Pulisic get an easy go at his central defenders. Given that his side definitely needed this win, he gets a harsh reduction.
Sergio Ramos – 7
The Spaniard read the game well when Dortmund looked like a bunch of crazed Olympic runners in the first-half but got a little sloppy in the second. However, Ramos didn’t have a bad night by any means in terms of the full 90 minutes.
Raphael Varane – 7
Despite his less-than-stellar attempt to block Schurrle’s late equalizer, Varane was excellent. He contributed with a second-half goal and won two crucial 1v1s in the first twenty minutes of the game when his team really needed him.
Carvajal – 6
The right-back was caught out of position at times but had a crucial block in the game to keep his side in the battle.
James Rodriguez – 7
Let’s be honest, had the Colombian not been involved in that brilliant first goal of the game, he’d of been given a 5. Why? Becuase he was non-existent in the second half before he was subbed off in the 70th minute. Anyway, back to that first goal’s build-up. Yes, he was vital in that.
Toni Kroos – 7
The German didn’t take risks against Dortmund in terms of creative activity. No, instead he opted to make the simplest of plays and win eight of his nine tackle attempts. Solid performance.
Luka Modric – 8
Modric is the brains of his side and arguably their most important player. His outside-the-boot pass to Benzema to start his side’s first goal was perfect.
Ronaldo – 9
This was Ronaldo’s best game of the season, he didn’t look like he was unfit. He was the go-to guy on that counter-attack and he finished his Bale-provided chance. Furthermore, he worked a short corner with a gorgeous pass to Benzema which eventually ended up finding it’s way to Varane for a goal. Last but not least, his movement was excellent throughout.
Karim Benzema – 7
The Frenchmen linked well with his ‘BBC’ teammates and although he squandered some chances, he was right where he needed to be when Ronaldo’s pass found him which was followed by his woodwork ringing shot finding Varane for a goal. Oh, and his positional sense on the opening goal managed to stretch out Dortmund’s defense. Good stuff.
Gareth Bale – 7
Bale offered great intensity throughout, his back-heeled pass was a genius look to unlock Dortmund’s coverage, and he tracked back all game to ensure his side weren’t overrun in midfield.
Subs (subs after the 80th minute get no rating).
Kovacic – 7
He was solid in defense when he came on for James Rodriguez in the 70th minute.
Alvaro Morata – No Rating.
The striker came on in the 87th minute for Benzema and didn’t have time to offer his side much of his brilliance.