For decades, German teams were the bane of Real Madrid’s existence, and in Ancelotti’s first season in charge, and in his quest for the coveted La Decima, the whites faced 3 German teams back to back in the knock-out stages. Real Madrid won 5 of those 6 matches with an aggregate score of 17-4, effectively vanquishing their ‘German’ demons and went on to reach the final and become the first team in history to lift a any International title 10 different times.
Tomorrow, Ancelotti’s men face a team that they have failed to beat this season, even though they had 7 different opportunities to do so. On top of that, Real will be without Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, and Luka Modric due to injury, while Marcelo will be absent due to suspension. So, who is the favourite for tomorrow’s match? Still Real Madrid. Simply put, Real is a different beast when it comes to the Champions League, with an outstanding record, especially at home, in the competition. For years, the Champions League (or European Cup) has been Real’s competition because they have dominated most if not all aspects of the competition.
Of course, it won’t be easy. Atletico have visited the Bernabeu 3 times this season, with a win and two draws being their outcome. Furthermore, Real have not been able to stop Atletico from scoring at the Bernabeu in any of these 3 matches this season. And to state the obvious, Real are likely to suffer in midfield without Modric, and at the front without 2 thirds of the BBC; however, in games like this, and infront of teams like Atletico, it mostly boils down to “team performance”. The same thing that has helped Atletico in avoiding defeat against Real in all of the 7 derbies this season. There has also been much speculation about the team and formation Ancelotti will field tomorrow now that the absentees are confirmed, with 2 strong and viable options being nominated in the form of a 3-5-2 and a more traditional 4-4-2.
The 3-5-2 would see Pepe, Ramos, and Varane all play at the same time in the back 3, with Coentrao and Carvajal transforming into ‘wingbacks’, and Cristiano alongside either Chicharito or Jese up front. Such formation is likely to be to unique and outgoing for Ancelotti’s liking, especially in perhaps the most important match of the season thus far, and because of the fact that Real have rarely played in this formation in recent seasons. However, it can prove tactically effective as it can allow the team to go forward, while at the same time overloading the midfield and keeping 3 men at the back to cover the team when/if Atletico counters.
The other formation is the regular 4-4-2 (more probable option) with either Illarra or Khedira (or perhaps even Silva) slotting in midfield in place of Modric. This would mean, again, that either Jese or Chicharito would play alongside Cristiano upfront, while Pepe or Varane will be chosen to play next to Ramos in defence. Real demonstrated impressive football against Atletico in the first leg with a 4-4-2, however that was with Bale, Benzema, Marcelo, and Modric playing. So without these highly creative players, a 4-4-2 might prove to be too ‘unimaginative’ vs a solidly defensive team like Atletico.
Real Madrid Stats
- Real Madrid have scored in every single one of their home matches this season in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have scored 20 goals in their last 5 home matches in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have lost just one of their last 20 home matches in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have scored in each of their last 22 home matches in the Champions League.
- Real Madrid have lost just 4 of their last 95 home matches in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have scored in 50 consecutive home matches in all competitions.
- Real Madrid average more than 3 goals per home match this season, with 74 goals in 23 matches (3.2 goals per match).
- Real Madrid have scored 34 goals in just 11 home matches in 2015 so far.
- Since Ancelotti became manager, Real Madrid have scored 172 goals in just 52 home matches in all competitions (3.3 goals per match).
- Since joining Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo’s second favourite team in terms of goald is Atletico Madrid, with 15 goals.
- Real Madrid have scored 17 and conceded just 2 goals in their last 5 matches in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have kept a clean sheet in 3 of their last 4 matches in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have progressed to the semi-final in 8 of the last 9 times they have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
- Real Madrid have lost just one of their last 22 home matches in the Champions League.
- Real Madrid have kept 4 clean sheets in their last 6 home matches in the Champions League.
- Real Madrid have won 11 of their last 12 home matches in the Champions League.
Atletico Madrid Stats
- Atletico is the team with the most clean sheets in the Champions League this season (7).
- Atletico is the team with the least goals conceded in the Champions League this season (4).
- Atletico have kept a clean sheet in 4 of the 7 Madrid Derbies this season.
- Atletico have kept 3 clean sheets in their last 4 matches vs Real Madrid.
- Atletico have lost just one of their last 5 visits to the Bernabeu.
- Atletico are currently on their longest undefeated run vs Real Madrid in their history (7 matches).
- Atletico have scored in 8 of their last 9 matches vs Real Madrid.
- Atletico have scored 5 goals in their last 3 visits to the Bernabeu.
- Atletico have conceded just one goal in their last 8 Champions League matches.
- Atletico have scored just one goal in their last 390 minutes in the Champions League.
- Atletico have won just one of their last 4 Champions League matches.
- Atletico have conceded just one goal in their last 750 minutes in the Champions League.
- Atletico have won just one of their 4 away Champions League matches this season.
- Atletico have won just 3 of their last 9 Champions League matches away from home.