In a tale of two struggling giants, German Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund play host to Spanish title holders Real Madrid at Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday October 24, 2012 in the third match day of the UEFA Champions League group stages.
The sides represent two of the four domestic championship winners that make up Group D of this season's tournament in the so dubbed, "Group of Death."
Starting with host side Borussia Dortmund, the German champions have had a rough start to their domestic campaign as they currently sit 12 points off the pace of Bayern Munich's perfect opening record of eight straight victories.
Sitting in fourth place domestically and in second place in their UCL group, they look towards their coming European match as a chance to prove to themselves that they have what it takes at the top level of the game in front of what is sure to be a sold-out crowd of over 80,000.
Jürgen Klopp's men will also have to be wary of a Spanish side that is just as frustrated with their start to their own league campaign that sees them in a similar position as their opponents.
Real Madrid have struggled just as bad to get their league campaign off to a solid start, as they also reside in the fourth place spot in their respected competition, eight points back from Barcelona and upstart title contenders Atletico Madrid.
Speaking in his press conference before the match, Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho discussed the difficulties of the coming match as quoted by the Guardian:
This is a difficult game but not because we are missing players: we have the players to play this game.
It is difficult because our opponents are a difficult team and this is a difficult group. It is not the kind of group where you can be qualified after three games or you can break the record and get 18 points from 18 like we did last season.
We want to get through: we won't want to be the big team in the Europa League.
Real Madrid will hope to force Borussia back and overrun them with their skilled forwards, but the compact nature of Klopp's side will make it difficult for the Spanish club to keep the pressure going for a full 90 minutes.
The disciplined nature of Dortmund's game could be the difference maker if they can find a way to contain the current Champions League-leading goal scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Injuries remain a problem for Real Madrid with Alvaro Arbeloa, Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao all out at the back, while Borussia Dortmund should see the return of Mario Goetze and Marcel Schmelzer to the first team and Ilkay Guendogan to the bench.
Predicted Starting XI's
Borussia Dortmund: Roman Weidenfeller; Lukasz Piszczek, Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer; Sven Bender, Sebastian Kehl; Mario Götze, Marco Reus, Kevin Großkreutz; Robert Lewandowski
Real Madrid: Iker Casillas: Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Pepe, Michael Essien; Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Angel Di Maria, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo; Karim Benzema
Prediction: 2-2 draw
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