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Heading into part two of the Germany-Spain derby in the Champions League, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are in similar positions in their respective leagues heading into today’s clash.

Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich have already clinched the league and sit a whopping 21 points behind the Bavarians. Real Madrid are likewise in a similar position, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona. This is the chance for both clubs to win some major silverware this year (Madrid are in the Copa del Rey final, however, they haven’t viewed the cup as a major coup).

Both sides have already faced each other in the Champions league this year in the group stages. Dortmund won the first match 2-1 at home on October 24 and drew Madrid 2-2 at the Bernabeu two weeks later. Considering that these two are already familiar with one another, this affair should be tightly contested, but also capable of producing some excellent football.

Dortmund head into this match at full strength, with the only injury concern being veteran midfielder Sebastian Kehl, who may only be healthy enough to make the bench; Ilkay Gundogan is expected to take his place in the lineup alongside Sven Bender in central midfield. Outside of that, Dortmund are expected to field their usual starting XI, including future Bayern player Mario Goetze.

The announcement on Tuesday by Bayern that Goetze will be transferring to the Bavarian giants this summer could put a dent into Dortmund psychologically, considering the rivalry between the two club. Manager Juergen Klopp called on the fans to fully back the team during the first leg at the Signal Iduna Park, although it remains to be seen how they will react to Goetze.

On the subject of psychological edges, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho will be more than please to have seen eternal rivals Barcelona succumb 4-0 to Bayern Tuesday night. However, Mourinho does have a couple issues with regards to his starting XI, particularly at right back.

Alvaro Arbeloa is set to miss the first leg after being red carded in the previous match against Galatasaray. Deputy right back Michael Essien is also a doubt after sustaining an injury in that same match, so the likeliest scenario would be moving Sergio Ramos from the center of defense out to the right, with Frech teenager Raphael Varane starting alongside Pepe. Injuries to Luka Modric, Marcelo, and Karim Benzema in league play mean that they will all remain on the bench.

Los Blancos will have a fresh starting lineup after the usual starters were given a rest over the weekend; in fact Mourinho already announced his starting XI, with the only question mark being Angel Di Maria, whose wife had given birth on Tuesday.  Iker Casillas remains in Mourinho’s doghouse and will continue to make way for Diego Lopez.

Considering that both sides play with the exact formation, similar pressing, counterattacking tactics, and have already played each other twice in this campaign, expect a very balanced affair as in the group stages.

Porjected Lineups

Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Hummels, Subotic, Schmelzer; Bender, Gundogan; Goetze, Reus, Grosskreutz; Lewandowski

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Lopez; Ramos, Pepe, Varane, Coentrao; Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain


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