Pitted in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Champions League, in truth Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are miles apart.
Real Madrid prove to be a class well above Dortmund
REAL MADRID 3 BORUSSIA DORTMUND 0
Real Madrid - Real Madrid Bale 3’, Isco 27’, Ronaldo 57’
Man of the Match - Isco (Real Madrid)
The Spaniards, nine-time winners of European club football’s most coveted prize, have always represented a venerable old institution; the world’s richest football team; once favoured by Franco and forever recognisable in all white.
Dortmund, on the other hand, are relative new kids on the block; driven to the brink of bankruptcy not a decade ago; the people’s choice whose glaring yellow-and-black garb adds to their anti-establishment vibe.
They are polar opposites in the transfer market, too, a notion swiftly reinforced last night in a 3-0 rout at the grand old Santiago Bernabeu.
When last summer Madrid paid a reported world-record fee for Gareth Bale to add to the capture of Isco, Spain’s fastest-rising star, Dortmund were busy mourning the loss of their own prized asset, Mario Gotze.
Even Robert Lewandowski, their other principle possession absent against Madrid, through suspension, has already confirmed this season will be his last at the Westfalenstadion.
Just like Gotze, he is off to Bayern Munich, Dortmund’s lofty rivals. There could be more, as well, with Marco Reus attracting admirers from far outside west Germany.
For it was ever thus: Real recruit; Dortmund diminish.
To labour the point, it was Bale and Isco who helped set up a commanding first-leg lead for the hosts, leaving their opponents little or no hope of progressing to the last four when the rivalry resumes in six days’ time.
Bale notched first, inside three minutes, to take his tally in his debut European season with Real to five goals and three assists.
Money can guarantee success, then.
Just before the half hour, Isco doubled the advantage.
Given Madrid’s superiority, it was no surprise a third came not long into the second half. The identity of the scorer did not particularly shock, either.
Cristiano Ronaldo, still officially the world’s costliest player, is rarely to be outdone, and his close-range finish lifted his 2013/14 tally to 14 goals in eight matches.
It equalled Lionel Messi’s single-season record; a feat that would have provided Ronaldo added delight.
The Portuguese’s evening ended somewhat worryingly, though, as he was withdrawn prematurely because of injury.
Precautionary or not, Madrid’s quest to end their aching wait for the “decima” – a 10th European Cup – seems imminently more achievable with Ronaldo in tow.
For Dortmund, they would need a repeat of last season’s semi-final aggregate score if they are to progress.
Nearly 12 months ago, they defeated Madrid 4-3 to tee up a showpiece clash with Bayern.
Back then, however, it was rather less complicated.
Ruthless Real, with all the trappings sustained success supplies, appear destined to continue in the competition.
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