Posts Tagged ‘ Robert Lewandowski ’

Ronaldo Must Be at His Best for Real Madrid to Beat Borussia Dortmund

Ronaldo Celebrating

 

When Real Madrid faces Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semifinals, you might think that the Spanish side is the prohibitive favorite to advance to the final.

You would be incorrect, I’m afraid.

Borussia Dortmund still hasn’t lost a single game in this year’s Champions League, beat Los Blancos 2-1 in Germany during the group stage in November and tied them 2-2 in Madrid two weeks later, after Mesut Ozil tied the game for Real Madrid in the 89th minute. For that reason, it will be up to Cristiano Ronaldo to lead his side to victory.

Again.

It may seem obvious that Ronaldo must be on his form against Dortmund, but generally Los Blancos have enough talent to beat opponents even if he isn’t the man of the match. Against Dortmund, I’m not so sure that’s the case.

While Bayern Munich has already wrapped up Bundesliga, Dortmund has lost just once in all competitions since the beginning of March and has proven to be one of the elite sides in Europe this season. Players like Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski would start for most clubs in the world.

Plus, Dortmund has the look of a charmed team after scoring two goals in stoppage time against Malaga to advance to the semifinals. Sometimes, nothing in sports is more insurmountable than a team with a bit of luck on its side.

And seeing as they would have moved forward on aggregate had the team’s group stage meeting been a semifinal, some folks might even consider Dortmund the favorites.

Real Madrid is the more popular squad, however, so it’s no surprise that over at Bovada Los Blancos are considered the favorites to reach the final. The fact that Ronaldo is the best player in the game might alone be the reason Real Madrid is favored.

And Ronaldo will have to play like the best player. He’s once again having an epic season, with 50 goals and seven assists in all competitions for Los Blancos. He’s been particularly dangerous of late, scoring in seven straight games for Real Madrid (with nine goals during that time).

With a league title pretty much out of the question at this point, winning a Champions League title is now the top priority for Real Madrid. And you have to think Ronaldo would like nothing more than leading his team to that title rather than seeing it go to Lionel Messi and Barcelona.

Not that it’s a given that Barca can get past Bayern Munich, of course. In fact, I think it’s the German side that will win that tie, but that’s just me.

In the end, must like Messi must come up huge for Barca against Bayern Munich, Ronaldo must be at his very best against Dortmund. Barcelona and Real Madrid might be considered the top superpowers in European football, but these German sides are the real deal and aren’t about to be intimidated.

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund Preview: Champions look for Pokal glory

Javi Martinez and Gotze

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

BAYERN

Neuer
Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba
Martinez, Schweinsteiger
Muller, Kroos, Robben
Mandzukic
DORTMUND

Weidenfeller
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Gundogan, Bender
Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus
Lewandowski

Bayern Munich will be without the serivces of star man Franck Ribery, who is suspended after being sent off in the last round against Augsburg, with Arjen Robben expected to step in for the Frenchman.

However, Javi Martinez has shaken off a minor groin strain which forced him off early against Werder Bremen at the weekend, while Daniel Van Buyten has shaken off the flu.

Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, will be boosted by the return of Robert Lewandowski, who has missed their recent league games due to suspension.

Meanwhile, Mats Hummels is fine after being withdrawn at half-time against Borussia Monchengladbach with a thigh problem, while Jakub Blaszczykowski has recovered from a minor injury.

  • Bayern Munich have conceded just two goals since the start of 2013, both came in their last two matches.
  • These two teams met in the final of the competition last season, with Dortmund recording a 5-2 victory over their rivals.
  • Legendary coach Ottmar Hitzfeld won this trophy three times with Bayern, but never during his six years with BVB.
  • Borussia Dortmund have lost just once in their last seven meetings with Bayern Munich – in the Supercup in August.
  • Mats Hummels started his career at the Allianz Arena, and moved to BVB in 2009, initially on loan.
  • Ten of the 19 players called up to Germany’s squad for the recent fixture against France play for one of these clubs.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga Preview: Reus returns to former home

Reus celebrating

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

GLADBACH

Ter Stegen
Jantschke, Stranz, Dominguez, Wendt
Marx, Nordtveit
Hanke, De Jong, Arango

DORTMUND

Weidenfeller
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Gundogan, Bender
Blaszczykowski, Reus, Grosskreutz
Gotze

Borussia Monchengladbach will be without the services of star man Patrick Herrmann, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season during last week’s 1-0 loss to Hamburg at the Imtech Arena, with Mike Hanke expected to replace him.

The only other absence will be Branimir Hrgota, who is building up fitness following a knee injury.

Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, are likely to field Mario Gotze as a makeshift striker thanks to the suspensions of Robert Lewandowski and Julian Schieber.

Kevin Grosskreutz will slot in on the left wing, but veteran defender Patrick Owomoyela remains sidelined.

  • Borussia Monchengladbach have won just one of their seven games since the turn of the year.
  • The biggest win in Bundesliga history came in this fixture – a 12-0 victory for the Foals in 1978.
  • The last two games at Borussia Park have ended in 3-3 draws – against Leverkusen and Lazio.
  • Borussia Dortmund clinched their Bundesliga title last season with a 2-0 win over Gladbach.
  • Marco Reus  joined BVB from Lucien Favre’s side in the summer, and scored twice when the two sides met earlier this season.
  • Dortmund have won at Borussia Park just three times since the turn of the millennium, and just once in their last six visits to Gladbach.

What Makes Borussia Dortmund Star Mario Gotze Special

Mario Gotze

 

Fans around the football world are always searching for the next wave of superstars. Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder Mario Gotze would certainly be on the short list after illustrating his immense potential over the past few years. His rise has been noticed by managers throughout Europe, which has made him a popular transfer target during recent windows. The Borussians have been unsurprisingly hesitant to move him, however, having seen first hand what he’s capable of.

Gotze’s ascent has continued during the first half of the current campaign. He’s scored 11 goals, which already represents a career high, in 24 matches across all competitions. The midfielder has chipped in five assists as well. While the 20-year-old Germany international is clearly beginning to produce at a high rate, it’s his natural talent that continues to attract attention from around the globe.

Whether playing at the club or international level, Gotze has shown off a tremendous pairing of creativity and speed, making him a nightmare to defend. His ability to read an opposing back line and react quickly is uncanny.

Despite the skill Gotze continues to show playing alongside stars like Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus with Dortmund, the best is yet to come. He’s only scratched the surface of his capabilities, and it’s only a matter of time before he takes the next step toward stardom.

He can still improve his distribution in the final third, which would turn him into the prototypical attacking midfielder. When opposing defenders know they must not only defend the shot but also pinpoint passes, it makes their job nearly impossible. Gotze isn’t there quite yet, but he’s seemingly getting closer with each passing month. Getting to play against Champions League competition helps accelerate the process. He’s been able to hold his own in the elite club tournament but is starting to figure out how to stand out and excel.

Again, the key word is potential. Gotze is already a very good player, but he’s capable of becoming a special talent in the coming years. Dortmund fans just hope they get to see his maturation process continue.

Even though the transfer talk hasn’t been as intense as some other recent windows, Gotze is still on the radar of several top clubs. Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reports the midfielder has a £30 million release clause, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid among the teams interested. The good news for Dortmund fans is Gotze hasn’t shown a desire to jump ship anytime soon. He was recently asked about a potential move and didn’t sound interested in the idea.

That’s music to the ears of the Borussians and their supporters. His commitment to the club gives hope that he can grow and thrive in Germany, instead of heading to England or Spain when the big-money offers start getting thrown around.

Things can change over time, of course. But at least for the time being it appears Gotze will work on taking his game to the next level at Dortmund. There’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to shine, even without a move to Manchester United or Real Madrid.

He’s made a name for himself with Dortmund and can become a superstar with the German club, too.

 

Robert Lewandowski to Sign a 5-Year Deal with Manchester United

Robert Lewandowski

 

Polish international striker Robert Lewandowski is set to sign a 5-year deal with Manchester United in the summer, according to emerging reports in German publication Bild. It claims that Borussia Dortmund have agreed to allow Lewandowski to leave for approximately £18 million when he moves into the final year of his contract at the end of the current season.

The risk of losing the highly sought-after marksman on a free transfer is too great a gamble for Dortmund, consequently allowing Manchester United to leverage a deal with the German club. The rumours linking Lewandowski with a dream move to Old Trafford have persisted for some time now, and despite the signing of Robin van Persie, Sir Alex Ferguson seems intent on securing the 24-year-old’s signature.

Lewandowski’s goal-scoring pedigree is impressive: This season alone, he has scored 10 goals in 16 starts in the German Bundesliga and four in five starts in the UEFA Champions League. He has also made four assists. However, his potential signing by Manchester United would raise question marks over exactly how he would fit into the first team. The Premiership leaders already have the highest goal-scoring record of the league campaign so far, with 48 goals from 19 games.

There are also four established strikers in the first-team squad: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck. Waiting in the wings are young prospects Angelo Henriquez and Will Keane.

Rooney and Van Persie hugging

 

There is the increasing possibility of Wayne Rooney accepting a more permanent role in midfield, which would free up one place in the rotational team of four strikers, but in turn questions are then raised over which formation United would play to accommodate Rooney in midfield.
The 4-1-2-1-2 (diamond) could see Rooney at the head of the midfield diamond with van Persie and Lewandowski in front of him. However, this would be a marked departure from the history of Manchester United—it is customary to play with wingers, and the only width would come from the full-backs.

The traditional 4-4-2 would mean Rooney playing in a central midfield two. However, many fans believe this would be too much of a restriction of his attacking capabilities, and the discipline required would shackle his natural creativity.

Of course, there is the possibility of the 4-3-3 accommodating all three big-name strikers up front, but would this make the side top-heavy with a lack of fluidity?

The in-vogue 4-2-3-1 formation would appear to be the most obvious choice to accommodate another new forward, in what will be the final team of Sir Alex Ferguson’s illustrious career. Lewandowski would play as the lone striker with Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and van Persie as the attacking midfield three.

Van Persie has already described his and Rooney’s playing position as a “nine-and-a-half,” thus able to roam between the AMC/FC and SC positions seamlessly. Wayne has often played as an old inside left, and van Persie has been seen on the right when he has dropped deep this season.

This leaves Kagawa to operate directly behind his former teammate at Dortmund, Lewandowski—a partnership that returned 35 league goals and 16 assists for the German Champions last season, according to WhoScored.com.

This option would still be a departure from Manchester United’s long tradition of playing with width. But Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and perhaps even Nani (if he remains at the club) could rotate into two of the three attacking midfield roles and stretch the 4-2-3-1 wide.

One thing for sure: If United do invest in Lewandowski, it will be fascinating watching yet another of Sir Alex Ferguson’s master plans unfold.

Lewandowski agrees terms on summer move to Old Trafford

Alex Ferguson

 

LEWANDOWSKI AGREES TERMS TO JOIN MANCHESTER UNITED

Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed the possibility of Manchester United signing any players in January but one A-lister is heading for Old Trafford. Goal.com understands that Robert Lewandowski has agreed in principle to join United next summer.

The deal to bring the Borussia Dortmund striker to the club is already believed to have been secured despite Sir Alex Ferguson having an embarrassment of attacking riches, with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez already on his forward roster. The Bundesliga champions have accepted that Lewandowski wants to leave the club and link up with former colleague Shinji Kagawa at Old Trafford.

The Poland international is said to have agreed the terms of a five-year contract with United and the fee, likely to be around £12-14million, will be rubber stamped at the end of the season. Sir Alex, who was at Etihad Stadium to see Lewandowski spearhead Dortmund’s attack to such effect in the club’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City in early October, is a long-time admirer of the prolific forward. The 24-year-old has scored 15 goals for Dortmund already in the current campaign to follow the 30-goal haul that inspired the club to the German league and cup double last season.

INTER JOIN RACE FOR OUTCAST NANI

There is likely to be some activity at Old Trafford next month, as the club prepare to listen to offers for a number of squad players, most notably Nani. Goal.com understands that Inter have now joined a number of Italian clubs, including Juventus and AC Milan, in pursuing the Portuguese and have “serious interest” in signing him in January. Nani is almost certain to leave Old Trafford next year following a breakdown in his relationship with the club and manager Sir Alex.

Talks over a new contract have collapsed while the winger has barely figured in the first team since he had an alleged training ground fight with reserve team midfielder Davide Petrucci in September. Nani has started just seven of United’s 25 matches this season and not a single Premier League game since the 3-2 defeat to Tottenham on 29 September.

United are holding out for £20m for a player they signed from Sporting Lisbon in 2007 but his value will diminish if he is still at Old Trafford at the end of the season, by which time he will only have 12 months remaining on his contract. A parting of the ways next summer is believed to be more likely than January, but that could change if Inter or one of Nani’s other suitors come close to United’s asking price.

A £25m deal to sell him to Zenit St Petersburg in the summer fell through because his “unreal” wage demands put off the Russian champions.

UNITED TO FUND MACHEDA LOAN MOVE

Federico Macheda is preparing to be loaned out for the third consecutive winter after struggling to catch the eye of Sir Alex. The 21-year-old has made only three substitute appearances for United this season and is available for loan once again, following spells at QPR in the second half of 2011/12 and Sampdoria the previous year.

Macheda’s £35,000-a-week wages have put off a number of interested clubs and Goal.com understands that United are willing to part-fund a January loan by contributing around £25,000-a-week towards his salary.

 

Mainz – Borussia Dortmund Preview

 

There is nothing quite like sealing your place in the knock-out phase of the Champions League to send you into the weekend with a spring in your step.

That is the case for Borussia Dortmund who swept Ajax aside 4-1 on Wednesday and confirmed that they are indeed a force to be reckoned with in Europe.

It has been a different story in the Bundesliga, however, with the reigning champions in fourth place on 22 points, nine points adrift of runaway leaders Bayern Munich heading into Saturday’s game.

But their form since the 2-2 draw with Real Madrid on October 10 has been encouraging and back-to-back 3-1 wins over Augsburg and Greuther Furth leave BVB in rude health.

Mainz are enjoying a positive season of their own, though, and after finishing 13th in the division last season, the hosts sit in a respectable eighth place – just five behind Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The visitors will be without Lars Bender who misses out with a nose injury, while Patrick Owomoyela continues his rehabilitation from surgery on a troublesome calf problem.

Niko Bungert, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Chinedu Edu are missing for Mainz through knee, fitness and hamstring problems respectively.

  • Borussia Dortmund have emerged 2-1 victors from their last two clashes with Mainz.
  • BVB have won three and drawn two of their last five games in all competitions.
  • Robert Lewandowski has scored two goals in each of his last three games.
  • Mainz’s last victory over Dortmund came back in 2009 when they won 1-0 at the Coface Arena. 
  • Christian Heidel’s team have won four of their five home games in the Bundesliga this season, losing just once.
  • Goals have been hard to come by for Saturday’s hosts, however, with just 15 scored from their 12 league games to date.
  • A Mainz victory would move the club to within just two points of Jurgen Klopp’s side in the table.