Borussia Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek (R) and Marco Reus (C) challenge Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) during their Champions League Group D soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, November 6, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Juan Medina (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Real Madrid gets a chance to exact vengeance when it takes on Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions league semifinals.
The Spanish champions enter the penultimate round on fire. The team dismantled Manchester United in the round of 16 before taking down a confident Galatasaray side. Madrid lost in the most recent match, but benefited from a 3-0 destruction of the Turkish side at home. More importantly, the Spanish outfit was without Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso in the latest tilt with Galatasaray; both players are essentially pieces defensively and offensively for Real Madrid and will be available in the semifinal. The group stage seems to be a distant memory, but it can no longer be ignored for too long. While Madrid had little trouble with Ajax Amsterdam or Manchester City, Jose Mourinho's club was unable to clinch the top spot in the group because of Dortmund. Madrid lost the first match 2-1 before having to come back from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 in the second match at home. In that game, the Spaniards looked unable to keep pace with the explosive speed of the German side. However, that was a different Madrid side; it was a team struggling with its identity and in the midst of locker room crisis. The Madrid that has materialized in 2013 is a unified one that looks unbeatable.
Dortmund on the other hand has faltered since taking down the Spaniards in group play. The team drew with Shakhtar Donetsk in the round of 16 but managed a dominant 3-0 win in the return leg for a 5-2 aggregate. However, the quarterfinals saw a far less convincing side. The team failed to score on underdog Malaga. If not for late heroics, Borussia would not even be here; Malaga led 2-1 only 10 minutes to play before Dortmund scored twice in the stoppage time to take a home a 3-2 win.
X-Factor: Cristiano Ronaldo leads the tournament with 11 goals and was effectively shutdown in the second match with Borussia Dortmund. He has been tremendous in the knockout stage with five goals in four games and will need to continue his dominant play to lead Madrid to the final. Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus have combined for 10 of Borussia's 19 goals and will need to burden the Madrid defense in order to have any chance over progressing.
History: Aside from this year's tournament, the two sides met in the second group stage of Champions league in 2002-03. Madrid won the first match 2-1 before the two sides drew 1-1 in the rematch.
The first leg takes place at Dortmund on April 24 while the return leg will take place in Spain's capital on May 1.