We played Real a few years ago of course and that was no small deal then. But since then they’ve come far, about as far as we have. Real Madrid aren’t just the biggest club in the world; they’re now the best team and this iteration will go down as one of the best ever.
There isn’t really a way to play against this team. Against a possession team they are perfectly happy to sit deep and be lethal on the break.
They have the individual brilliance to play out of the high-press and exploit the space created.
And they can open up a parked bus by attacking wide through their full-backs.
This use of the FBs as an attacking tool in a diamond shape (or 4-1-2-1-2) is pretty extreme. It stems from: the narrowness of their attacking 3, the disparity of creativity between Casemiro and the FBs and degree to which the majority of teams play ultra-defensive against Real.
Marcelo really stands out. Member of, on paper, a back 4 who has the attacking output of an elite winger. Rose’s athleticism and technique, Trippier’s crossing, Davies’ creativity, Aurier’s boldness.
But here’s where the glimmer of hope is. Madrid are currently suffering heavy injuries in the full-back department. Instead of Marcelo and Carvajal they are currently set to start Nacho (who’s closer to a CB than a winger) and 18 year old Achraf Hakimi.
This is why the way we set up against Dortmund is suited perfectly to Real. Conceding possession, defending narrow, sitting Kane on Casemiro and forcing Real to play through their 3rd choice FBs.
Suffocating their attack this way and hitting the space out wide quick on the counter, we might just, just stand a chance.