all set for the remontada!
Madrid takes on Borussia Dortmund tonight (20:45h) in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals. Let the remontada begin!
On Monday, the team held their last training session in the morning, with Cristiano and Pepe rejoining the group after having trained apart from the rest for several days. Arbeloa and Marcelo, our two injured players, worked out in the gym, doing recovery work. All of the healthy players, except for Jesús, was called up for the game. The concentración began later that night at the entrance to the palco presidencial instead of the usual spot next to the parking, so that the players could get up close and personal with the madridistas who had showed up and stood waiting in the rain to give them a rousing send-off. Our boys reciprocated by signing autographs and tossing shirts into the crowd.
Of note: if Sergio Ramos or Michael Essien get a card during this game, they will be suspended for the final.
Data, statistics, precedents…
Once again, this comes courtesy of AS and Mr. Chip, and is accompanied by photos from the training session.
Home games: Madrid has played 23 home games against German rivals in European competitions, producing a record of 17-4-3, with 51 goals in favor and 21 against. Of these 17 wins, only three would serve to eliminate Borussia Dortmund tonight: the 4-0 against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Dec. 11, 1985, the 5-1 against FC Köln on April 30, 1986, and the 3-0 against Bayer Leverkusen on March 18, 1998.
With Mou: from the time of Mou’s arrival, Madrid has played 84 official games in the Bernabéu, and has won more than half with a three goal or more margin (43 games for 51 percent). The 4-1 which would force tonight’s game into overtime has occurred on eight occasions, six times in the Liga and twice in the Champions (Spartak and Ajax).
The 2009 friendly: Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park in a friendly on Aug. 19, 2009, winning 5-0 behind goals from Granero, Robben, Higuaín, Kaká and Raúl. Of the 38 players who participated in that game, 19 continue with their teams, nine on Madrid (Iker, Albiol, Marcelo, Pepe, Xabi, Kaká, Cristiano, Higuaín, Benzema) and 10 on Borussia Dortmund.
Goals away from home: since the time that UEFA has applied the rule of away goals to resolve ties, 126 elimination rounds began with a 4-1 in the first leg game (35 in the European Cup, eight in the Cup Winners Cup, 71 in the UEFA Cup and 12 in the Intertoto Cup) and only in 12 cases (9.52 percent) was there a comeback (four in the European Cup, one in the Cup Winners Cup, seven in the UEFA Cup). Of these 126 precedents, only two were decided by penalties, with the home team passing.
Never a recovery from a 4-1: no team has ever come back from a 4-1 in the semifinals of a European competition. The most advanced round where a team achieved this was in the quarterfinals. That team was Deportivo, which beat Milan at the Riazor 4-0 on April 7, 2004. From that point on, no one has managed to come back from a 4-1 in any round, although 23 teams did try.
Losing in the first leg: two teams have eliminated Dortmund from Europe after losing the first leg: Brujas recovered from a 0-3 in the 1987-88 UEFA Cup to win the second leg 5-0, and Genk came back from a 0-1 in the 2005 Intertoto Cup to win 2-1 in the second leg.
Scoring early: it’s not necessary to score early to come back from a 4-1. Thirteen years ago, Wisla did it against Zaragoza down one goal (0-1) at the half. Lierse scored three goals to eliminate Rosenborg in 1971 in the 71st, 73rd and 79th minutes (a hat trick for André De Nul). The most common halftime result in games where a 4-1 deficit was overcome is 1-0 (four of 12).
Coming back in overtime: half of the teams that came back from a 4-1 deficit did it in overtime. The other six did not allow a goal in the second leg and won 3-0 (three cases) or 4-0 (three cases). No one has come back from a 4-1 without going into overtime after receiving a goal in the second leg, but those who managed to force overtime were able to make a comeback.
Stage fright: Madrid is one of three teams that has been able to mount a comeback of three goals or more in three different European elimination rounds. Madrid did it against Derby County in 1975 (1-4 in the first leg, 5-1 in the second leg), Anderlecht in 1984 (0-3 in the first leg, 6-1 in the second leg) and Mönchengladbach in 1985 (1-5 in the first leg, 4-0 in the second). Barça and Werder Bremen are the other teams to have achieved it.
Parallels: one of Madrid’s three great European comebacks is similar to the actual situation. In 1984, just before beating Anderlecht 6-1, Madrid won by the minimum at the Calderón, just like it did on Saturday. The goal was also scored by an Argentine: Valdano.
Eleven years ago: Madrid has not come back from a European elimination round since 11 years ago, when it beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in the Bernabéu on April 10, 2002 after losing 1-2 in Munich. From that point on, it has failed in six attempts: Arsenal, Roma, Liverpool, Lyon, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Wins in the second leg: Madrid has won 69 of its second leg games in Europe at home, and on five occasions it was eliminated after winning at home: Benfica (March 17, 1965), Rapid (Dec. 4, 1968), Bayern Munich (April 22, 1987), Milan (Nov. 1, 1989) and Bayern Munich (April 25, 2012).
On loan: if Borussia wins tonight, it will be the second team to reach the final of the Champions League from Pot 4 of the group phase draw. Monaco is the only other team to do so, in 2003-04. Both teams will have eliminated Madrid from the tournament with a loaned player on their roster (Morientes, Sahin).
Goalscorers: two of the only three players to have scored 10 or more goals in Europe this season are facing each other tonight: Cristiano (12) and Lewandowski (10). The third is Kozák (10).
Cristiano: Cristiano has scored in six consecutive Champions League games, which Chamakh and Yilmaz have also done. With a goal tonight, Cris will set two new records: he will be the first footballer to score in seven consecutive CL games, and the first player in the history of Madrid to score more than 12 goals in a European competition in only one season (Puskas scored 12 in the 1959-60 edition of the European Cup).
This past weekend…
Madrid managed to lift spirits and optimism before this game by beating Atleti (once again) on Saturday. It’s nice to see some things don’t change. Juanfran kicked off the scoring for Madrid with an own goal (it’s also nice to see that he’s still scoring for Madrid) and Ángel di María chipped in one as well to dash the hopes of the colchoneros for one more year. Ángel dedicated the goal to his newborn daughter Mia Belén and wife Jorgelina.
I loved this sign: “Benzema, I’ll exchange the points on my driver’s license for your shirt.”
And here we have Xabi and MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín finding the steep and narrow stairs into the tunnel a little difficult to maneuver. Xabi nevertheless managed to climb down those stairs with a lot of poise (note the coffee cup in hand).
In other club news, the Prebenjamín B and Cadete B teams became the fourth and fifth teams in the cantera to be crowned champions, after Juvenil A, Juvenil B and Alevín B. Rubén de la Red is the coach of the Cadete B team.
And the basketball team, in what is sure to be a preview of the Euroleague semifinals, beat Barcelona Regal 78-65 in regular Liga play to mathematically clinch first place with three games left. Our capi Felipe Reyes had 19 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes.