1. Real Madrid Vs Wolfsburg – Match Preview
This Tuesday Real Madrid will host German side Wolfsburg at the Santiago Bernabeu for the UCL Quarter Final second leg. Wolfsburg has the advantage of 2 goals that they scored in their home ground last week in the first leg. Yet considering Real Madrid’s form at the Santiago Bernabeu, the fixture will be interesting. This match can also be important for Real Madrid’s Manager Zinedine Zidane at the club since talks of sacking him from the manager role is sparking after the first leg disaster.
2. Current Form and Performance
Real Madrid under Zidane has been great in home fixtures till now. Real Madrid managed to win all the home fixtures except the defeat against Atletico Madrid since Zidane’s appointment. Also, RM has a good record in UCL this season and are yet to concede a Goal at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid managed to win against Eibar at Home last weekend with fulltime scoreline 4-0 in the absence of most of the senior players . The defeat against Wolfsburg in the away leg was the result of poor tactics and the tight schedule that players underwent before playing the match. Anyway, Real Madrid managed to win 4 out of the last 5 fixtures including the away win against Barcelona at the Camp Nou and defeated Sevilla with ease at home. Real Madrid have won 29 of their last 34 Champions League games at the Bernabeu (D3 L2).
On the other side, Wolfsburg who are in the quarter-finals of Europe’s top club competition for the first time in their history have won their last five Champions League games, their best ever run and the longest current streak among teams left in the competition. Among the last 5 fixtures, they managed to win only one. Right now they are at the 8th Position in the Bundesliga table. Dieter Hecking’s team are now winless in their last four league outings, and the coach blamed “tired minds” after they failed to hold a lead given to them by Andre Schurrle’s goal early in the second half against Mainz. Wolfsburg has been quite poor in the away games this season .
Wolfsburg has been quite poor in the away games this season. They have only won twice this season away from home. A top UCL team should always make the most of it in away matches and should always be balanced. Wolfsburg ain’t doing so. Even if Wolfsburg managed to win against RM at home, there is a possibility that Real Madrid can do big comeback at the Bernabeu this Tuesday.
3. Opportunities and Strong Zone
Real Madrid have a great opportunity to score 2+ goals in the first half considering their form at home. Zidane’s men have scored 17 goals in their last 5 fixtures at the Santiago Bernabeu including a 4-0 win against Sevilla and a 2-0 win against AS Roma. Real Madrid’s strong zone is probably their forward attack comprising of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo. The trio has the capability to turn the cards in the home leg by netting 3+ goals. Welshman Gareth Bale is probably having his best season with Los Blancos, scoring 15 goals and having 11 assists so far this season.
Prior to scoring and assisting, Bale has been great in creating chances and building attacks. On the other hand, French international Karim Benzema has been great so far this season though he missed some great chances in the last 2 matches. Top scorer of UCL this season with 13 goals and 4 assists, Cristiano Ronaldo will be perhaps the most important part of the Madrid’s attack. The Portuguese striker has managed to score 43 goals this season and has been so good in UCL. After the arrival of Zidane, Ronaldo is also trying to create chances and made some decent runs in last few fixtures.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been the vital part of Madrid’s midfield throughout the season. Another important part of the midfield Jigsaw is Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro. He was phenomenal in the El Clasico. Casemiro’s Defensive work-rate will be vital for Real Madrid to turn the fixture on their favour.
On the other side, the German side seems to have more weak points rather than strengths even if they managed to win against the Los Blancos at home. Key player for the Wolves in the UCL is Julian Draxler who was accompanied by offensive fullback Ricardo Rodriguez. Draxler has always been doing half the work up front for most of the season. Rodriguez does the other half. In fact, Rodriguez and Draxler have engaged in more one on ones than the entire Wolfsburg squad put together(26 vs 14) which shows how much the squad relies on Draxler. Also, Arnold who scored against Real Madrid will be important for them in the away fixture.
In the home leg, Wolfsburg overwhelmed Real Madrid helped by the energy of Max Arnold and Bruno Henrique who combined for the second goal.
The biggest weakness of the Spanish side is probably its defense. Though Pepe and Carvajal have been great throughout the season but the rest of the defenders aren’t showing much intensity in the game. Brazilian Marcelo has been quite weak at defending, leaving a lot of space for the opponent’s attackers to penetrate. Also the 30-year-old Spanish centre-back, Sergio Ramos isn’t having his best season. He hasn’t been quite disciplinary in recent matches committing many unnecessary fouls and bad tackles. Non-reliable Ramos and Marcelo will be a big concern for the whites.
While the Wolves are struggling with many problems, they have been rotating the squad sensibly throughout the season. The Brazilian duo of Dante and Naldo are continuously used time and again. Overworking them may causing them defensive problems but will not be one pf the main problems. In the forwards part, Bas Dost isn’t playing up to the expectations and has failed to maintain his form from last season. Max Kruse isn’t living up to his potential, to say the least. Even after scoring 7 goals and 7 assists this season, he has failed to convert many chances which could cost them dearly when playing against an opponent of Real Madrid’s calibre.
5. Predicted Starting Line-Up
Navas, Marcelo, Pepe, Ramos, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Bale, Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Benaglio,Vierinha, Naldo, Dante, Ricardo Rodriguez, Guilavogui, Gustavo, Henrique, Max Arnold, JulianDraxler, Andre Schurrle.