Real Madrid – Borussia Mönchengladbach: Benzema Delivers The Goods As Zidane’s Men Stave Off Disaster (2-0)
The pressure was at a historic high for Real Madrid, but in turn, they put the pressure on their visitors early. Borussia Mönchengladbach were thus prohibited from getting into a rhythm in possession all game. Madrid would capitalize on the advantages they had on the flanks, especially attacking the right side, to set up a brace of Benzema headers which sealed the win. Turning in an accomplished performance at a pivotal time saw Zidane’s side top the group with Mönchengladbach still qualifying.
Tactical analysis and match report by Julian Chingoma.
In Manchester United, the Europa League had already seen the entry of a prestigious European giant dropping in from the Champions League. Real Madrid, the most storied Champions League club, were looking to avoid a similar fate. Placed in a tricky group and amid a turbulent season thus far, they sat in third place. A win would have guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages. A draw, on the other hand, required favorable results elsewhere for them to progress. Borussia Mönchengladbach sitting on top of the group only needed to avoid defeat to guarantee their progression.
With the stakes seemingly as high as they have ever been for Zinedine Zidane, he went to the trusted 4-3-3 formation. Thibaut Courtois was the man between the posts. Raphaël Varane and Sergio Ramos anchored the defense as Lucas Vázquez and Ferland Mendy took up the fullback roles. The familiar midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić was chosen for this battle. The Brazilian duo of Rodrygo and Vinícius flanked Karim Benzema in attack.
Mönchengladbach were lined up in a 4-2-3-1 . . .