Preview: Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

There’s a real fight for Champions League survival in Group H as Borussia Dortmund prepare to host Real Madrid at Signal-Iduna-Park on Tuesday.

Champions League
26 September 2017
Kick-off 20:30 CET

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM                           MATCHES  WIN   DRAW   LOSS
Borussia Dortmund      11     3     4     4
Real Madrid                  11     4     4     3

Previous encounter:
Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Borussia Dortmund 7/12/16 (Champions League)
Real Madrid goalscorer: K. Benzema (28', 53')
Borussia Dortmund goalscorers: P. Aubameyang (60'), M. Reus (88')

Players to watch:
Having started with Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez on the weekend, manager Zinedine Zidane may well feel that Gareth Bale is needed back in the team. The Welshman needs to reaffirm his place in the squad, and if he gets a chance to feature he will need to take it. Should Ceballos feature again, it will also be interesting to see how he performs.

For Dortmund, Aubameyang remains the danger man. The Gabon international got a hattrick in their most recent match against Die Fohlen and scored when they last met Madrid. He was linked with Madrid in the offseason and will be eager to show them what they missed. He already has eight goals in the Bundesliga this season.

Team form and quotes:
Dortmund were beaten 3-1 by Tottenham on matchday one, meaning they have to play catch up to make it out of the group. They have, however, made the perfect response back in Germany, winning their last three matches with 14 goals scored and just one conceded. They currently sit top of the Bundesliga standings.
Los Blancos made a no-nonsense start to their defence of the trophy with a routine 3-0 win over group minnows APOEL, but with all other teams pencilling in wins over the Cypriots, it will be their results against the German and English sides that will really count.

Madrid relied on two goals from young midfielder Dani Ceballos to earn a 2-1 win over Deportivo Alaves at the weekend, and while the Spaniard said "it was the debut that I dreamed of", he also highlighted the team’s lack of a cutting edge at the moment.

"We're not great in front of goal but the important is that we create chances in front of goal," Ceballos added. "We need to close games off quicker. We have many games ahead of us. If we all pull in the same direction we can move forward as a unit."

Dortmund midfielder Mario Götze said the team "are all playing at a good level and trying to absorb [manager] Peter Bosz's philosophy" after enjoying a perfect warm-up with goals from Max Philip, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Julian Weigl in the 6-1 win over Gladbach.

"We know it'll be a mammoth task against Real," Götze added. "But we’re playing at home and have always played quite well against Madrid. We're going to prepare well because we know how important this game is. It's definitely an interesting clash, that's for sure."

Team news:
In team news, Dortmund will likely be without Marc Bartra due to a lack of match fitness, while other absentees include Marcel Schmelzer (ankle), Rafael Guerreiro (broken foot), Erik Durm (hip), Sebastian Rode (pelvis), Marco Reus (knee).

For Madrid, Karim Benzema and Marcelo are both expected to miss out due to muscular injuries while Mateo Kovacic is out with an adductor injury and Theo Hernandez is nursing a bad shoulder.