Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund meet again in Champions League 'group of death'

Shahan Ahmed

Two weeks ago, Real Madrid traveled to Dortmund in a meaningful tie that could have all but secured qualification to the Champions League knockout round and top spot in Group D. However, a high-energy Borussia Dortmund side scored in both halves to win the match and take over the Group D lead.

On Tuesday, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund meet again with the “Group of Death" lead at stake.

After three matches, Borussia Dortmund leads Group D, the only group in this year’s Champions League that features four defending league champions. At the midway point of the group stage, German Bundesliga champ Dortmund is first with seven points, Spanish title holder Real Madrid is second with six points, Dutch Eredivisie champ Ajax is third with three points and English Premier League champ Manchester City is last with only one point.

The computer calculated Madrid’s chances to beat Dortmund and reclaim the top spot at 64.5 percent with Cristiano Ronaldo being the most likely scorer on Tuesday night. Ronaldo, who scored against Dortmund a fortnight ago, found the target in 70 percent of the 10,000 match simulations.

The computer gives Dortmund only a 15-percent chance of winning all three points at the Santiago Bernabeu. Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski were each given a one-in-four chance of scoring, but both players have been in good form this season. Lewandowski, in particular, has been especially huge in European competition for the German champions.

The 24-year-old Polish striker scored the late match-winner against Ajax in Dortmund’s Champions League opener. During Matchday 2, Lewandowski was unable to put any of his five shots in the back of the net in a 1-1 draw with Man City, but against Real Madrid two weeks ago, Dortmund’s No. 9 produced a first-half lead.

With two goals in three Champions League matches, Lewandowski has already topped his record of one goal in six matches last season. If he can help his team stay top after Tuesday’s match, Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund should be on their way to the knockout rounds of Europe’s premier club competition.

Recent form

• Real Madrid won its third straight match last weekend. Since losing to Dortmund on October 24, Madrid has demolished its opposition, outscoring opponents 13-1 during the win streak, including a comfortable 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza last Saturday. The 4-0 win, however, did not feature a goal from Ronaldo, snapping his streak of scoring in eight straight matches.

• Borussia Dortmund drew 0-0 against Stuttgart last weekend, dropping the German champions to fifth place in the Bundesliga after 10 rounds. Dortmund is 11 points back of leaders Bayern Munich, and a third straight Bundesliga title doesn’t appear to be in the cards for Jurgen Klopp’s men. Mario Gotze, however, has been in goal-scoring form as of late. Gotze has scored twice in his last three appearances for Dortmund.