Real Madrid make light work of weakened Dortmund

Spanish giants will take three-goal lead to Germany as Bale and Ronaldo shine again

Real Madrid 3 Borussia Dortmund 0

Real Madrid are virtually through. Even a repeat of last year's 4-1 defeat in Dortmund would not be enough to derail them and their opponents are not the team that reached the final at Wembley last May. Only four of the 11 players who started that night were included here: the injury list is long, Mario Götze departed for Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski, scorer of all four goals, was suspended. Marco Reus was as dangerous as he was alone; he must have looked around and wondered where the team he used to play with has gone.

As for Real Madrid, they have added the world's most expensive player, Gareth Bale, and they continue to progress smoothly through the competition. This was their eighth win in nine games, secured with goals from Bale, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo, and they were in the lead almost from the start. On an ultimately comfortable night, their only concern was be the sight of Ronaldo departing late on.

The clock showed just 2min 58sec when Real Madrid took the lead. Karim Benzema, Dani Carvajal and Bale loaded the right side of the pitch, arriving in stages. Benzema played the ball sideways to Carvajal who played it sideways to Bale. Running in, he went beyond the first challenge and nudged the ball past Roman Weidenfeller for his fifth Champions League goal of the season.


A second Madrid goal seemed to be question of when, not if. Cristiano Ronaldo was crowded out, Isco’s shot was blocked and Bale then had the ball in the net again, only to be ruled offside. Ronaldo had a long-range shot palmed away, a free-kick pushed over and a volley blocked. Pepe’s header was cleared off the line. Bale came close with a free-kick, and this time the save was even better.

Just when Dortmund appeared to have recovered, riding out the initial storm and finding their way back into the game, it was 2-0. It started with a Dortmund corner but Madrid broke quickly, a huge space opening up for them to run into. Isco, Bale and Ronaldo were involved but the move died, until poor defending from Henrikh Mkhitaryan revived it. Xabi Alonso won possession and found Isco, who curled a neat shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. He had only been included because of the absence of Ángel di María but Isco was enjoying this enormously.

Again Dortmund recomposed themselves, with their coach, Jürgen Klopp, waving them forward. Reus had a shot blocked and then Nuri Sahin bafflingly passed up the chance to deliver a cross into the area where five team-mates waited because Erik Durm was down, having been caught in the ribs by Bale.

Bale had the first opportunity of the second half after Luka Modric’s wonderful pass but this seemed to spark Dortmund into life again. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reus combined sharply on the left, but the striker shot weakly. He had another chance a moment later but again it was wasted and a second hint of recovery led, like the first, to a Madrid goal. Modric found Ronaldo to make it 3-0 and equal the record of 14 goals in a Champions League campaign.

Dortmund attacked now. Pepe made one superb challenge and Casillas reacted extremely fast to make a save that the linesman’s flag narrowly rendered redundant. Both times, it was Reus who was denied. But while Dortmund knew they had to seek the away goal that would give them half a chance, they knew that a place in the semi-final had slipped away. And there were chances at the other end too, including one long run from Bale that ended with him shooting over. Even if there no more goals, three were enough for Real.

Guardian Service