Apr 24, 2013, 12:55 PM EST
With tonight’s crunch game edging ever closer, lets talk about the team news.
Wait a minute…we don’t have to do that for Real Madrid?
That’s because eccentric/genius/legendary/crazy (delete as appropriate) head coach Jose Mourinho, took the unorthodox step of announcing almost all of Madrid’s starting lineup, the day before the game….
So here it is, thanks to Spanish newspaper Marca. Lopez in goal, a back four from right to left of Ramos, Pepe, Varane and Coentrao, two holding midfielders in Xabi and Khedira and an attacking trio of Özil, Ronaldo and Higuaín.
The only player Mourinho was unsure of was Angel Di María, who became a father yesterday and may miss the tie. But apart from that, Borussia Dortmund know exactly who they’re up against. Mind games from Mourinho? Perhaps. But the biggest notable omission is captain Iker Casillas in goal. After falling out of favor and then getting injured, Casillas finds himself on the bench for the biggest game of the season. And listen to this remarkable stat, out of 24 games away to German opposition, Real Madrid have won once, lost 17 and drawn six times. History is not on their side.
Also, let’s not forget, Real and Dortmund have already squared off twice in the group stages of this seasons UCL. Dortmund beat Madrid 2-1 at the Westfalenstadion, and were leading by the same score line in the return game at the Santiago Bernabeu, until Mezut Ozil equalized in the last minute to grab a point for Madrid. So Dortmund are the favorites then, right? Not so much. This is a different Real team than they one they faced earlier in the season.
Even though Dortmund impressively won the ‘group of death’ ahead of Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax, they won’t go into this clash with the Spanish giants as the top dogs. The pedigree of Real’s attacking talents will be sending shivers down the spine of Dortmund’s manager, Jürgen Klopp, as we speak.
Yes, Robert Lewandowski and Mario Götze are also capable of similarly breathtaking moments of magic, but can they match Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín, Ozil and Di María blow for blow? No. Expect to see a fired up Madrid come racing out of the traps in the heart of industrial Germany this afternoon.
And what with yesterday’s revelation that Dortmund’s star player, Götze, will be joining Bayern Munich in the summer, Dortmund’s players may be distracted tonight as fans mourn the loss of one of the clubs greatest young talents. The news of Götze’s imminent departure on the eve of their huge UCL semifinal didn’t please Dortmund. But Mourinho isn’t getting involved. “I don’t know Götze, and I don’t know the mentality or the culture of the Dortmund fans, and I don’t know what his teammates are thinking.”
Mourinho playing mind games, not a chance. Wait a minute…
Dec 9, 2013, 3:59 PM EST
Major League Soccer has been steadfast on this one all along:
Dec 9, 2013, 2:48 PM EST
Can the Swans surge back into the top 10? Watch live on NBCSN:
Dec 9, 2013, 2:29 PM EST
We caught up with ‘beardless’ Howard after his impressive outing vs. Arsenal. Here’s what he had to say:
Dec 9, 2013, 1:27 PM EST
With a shortlist of over 50 names to choose from, what is your current best starting XI in world soccer?
Dec 9, 2013, 12:59 PM EST
With Michu in-line to return, could the Swans blow the Tigers away?
Dec 9, 2013, 12:06 PM EST
Moyes takes the blame but how much longer can he take the flack for his under-performing stars?
Dec 9, 2013, 11:20 AM EST
Do the Gunners have themselves to blame? Or were the Toffees just too good?
Dec 9, 2013, 9:48 AM EST
Shock horror, Ronaldo and Messi go head-to-head for Ballon d’Or….
Dec 9, 2013, 9:14 AM EST
Ex-Premier League striker among those questioned as investigation continues:
Dec 9, 2013, 7:49 AM EST
Who gets your vote? Sit back, relax and watch some stunners from Osvaldo, Assaidi, Cabaye and others:
Dec 8, 2013, 11:54 PM EST
The one commonality among both stars’ groups: Almost none of their opponents have good defensive records.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:48 PM EST
Unbeaten in three, Spurs have turned things around since their loss at Manchester City.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:44 PM EST
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The difference between missed opportunities and bad luck.
Dec 8, 2013, 8:45 PM EST
Fulham decided it early against Aston Villa, while Giroud was denied late at The Emirates.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:40 PM EST
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Collin, Feilhaber, Findley and Schuler may have changed the way we see their careers.
Pulis vs. Allardyce; Crystal Palace vs. West Ham: Earle, Mustoe talk diverging paths of Eagles, Hammers (video)
Dec 8, 2013, 6:38 PM EST
NBC Sports’ analysts consider what’s going right in the South, wrong in the East.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:43 PM EST
New depths for Moyes, Everton continues to convince, and perspective required for Chelsea’s, City’s stumbles.
Dec 8, 2013, 2:51 PM EST
Roma’s enormous win, fueled by Mattia Destro’s winner in his season debut, gave the Giallorossi a vital three to keep pace with Juventus and extend their distance from Napoli.
Dec 8, 2013, 2:23 PM EST
Wenger believes consistency will be the key, but can Arsenal learn from previous campaigns and not shot themselves in the foot?
Dec 8, 2013, 12:59 PM EST
Mesut Ozil gave Arsenal the lead with just 10 minutes to go, but Gerard Deulofeu broke Arsenal fans hearts not long after.
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