Keylor Navas didn’t have a particularly difficult evening.Despite the hosts’ attacking intent there were actually very few shots aside from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal.
The Spanish defender was an energetic presence throughout, he carved open an opportunity early on but wasted it by shooting himself, although Carvajal would quickly make amends by providing Gareth Bale with a perfect assist.
As is customary for Sergio Ramos, important matches bring out the very best of the veteran defender, and he looked to get forward when possible, perhaps a little too much.
Raphael Varane impressed again as he continued his fine start to the season following an injury lay-off. He kept the Gabon international striker quiet for the majority of the evening and even performed a goal-saving tackle in the first-half.
Marcelo’s absence was always going to trouble Zinedine Zidane, but Nacho Fernandez proved to be the perfectly reliable option with the Spaniard excelling in his defensive duties.
Casemiro previously burst onto the scene for the Spanish giants in Dortmund and returned to the same stadium with a positive performance. He shielded the defensive line well and put a number of probing passes in between the lines.
Unsurprisingly, given his Bayern Munich connections, Toni Kroos was the subject of whistles and boos from the fervent home support but was professional and ably supported Modric.
The Croatian was the star of the show, he set the tempo for the visiting team to play at and Borussia Dortmund’s midfield simply couldn’t get near him. His performance was the perfect teaching tool for any coach.
Isco worked hard and showed flashes of creativity but it wasn’t a game built for his skill-set, especially with Modric just behind him. The Spanish playmaker missed his best chance as he forced a smart save from a diving Roman Burki.
Gareth Bale responded to his critics in the best possible manner. With Los Blancos having missed a number of early chances he simply rifled a left-footed volley into the top corner. His running in behind caused the German defence problems, although he left the pitch limping with cramp.
It doesn’t come as a shock that German teams simply detest facing Cristiano Ronaldo. After his brace on Tuesday evening his record against Bundesliga teams stands at 25 goals in 20 appearances and his killer instinct in front of goal was the difference on the night.
Marco Asensio was quiet after being brought on and missed a chance to score when his touch was too heavy.
After being introduced to replace the visibly uncomfortable Bale, Lucas Vazquez found a game that was nearing its conclusion and he couldn’t find the situations where he could contribute.
Dani Ceballos was the hero against Deportivo Alaves, yet the trip to Germany was merely an experience for the 21-year-old. He will feel the benefit in years to come, irrespective of playing just a couple of minutes.
Zidane’s team selection was clever. After having seen the opening match-day clash between Peter Bosz’s team and Tottenham Hotspur, the French coach knew there would be gaps in the Borussia Dortmund defence and the plan to play direct, with speed, paid dividends.
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