Real Madrid's struggles in the semifinals of the Champions League have become common knowledge in recent years, and they added to that brief history Wednesday in a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Borussia Dortmund. It'll take these players stepping up their game tremendously if they want any chance at making the championship.
In a historic performance by Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, who netted four goals, Madrid were taken down in Germany in a violent manner. Much of this was due to some of Jose Mourinho's top players playing much unlike themselves.
It'll take a massive turnaround for Madrid to come back from a three-goal aggregate deficit, but if they can keep Dortmund scoreless and dominate the pitch, they'll have a chance.
If these players step up and dominate, Real Madrid will have a chance to win big enough at Santiago Bernabeu to wipe out Wednesday's woeful performance.
A player that often lurks under the shadows of the spotlight, midfielder Xabi Alonso's impact on Madrid's game is always under-appreciated when he plays well. But when he doesn't, boy is it obvious.
Alonso made an awful decision in the second half that resulted in him flying toward a Dortmund player and knocking him down in the box, which ultimately led to Lewandowski's penalty goal.
On top of that, Alonso was never able to do anything for Madrid offensively other than hold possession. Despite Los Blancos being on the attack throughout the entire match due to Dortmund's early goal, they weren't doing anything as far as attacking is concerned and much of that has to be attributed to Alonso.
Alonso has dominated throughout his Real Madrid career and is a huge cog in the midfield there, but if he continues to play like he did Wednesday, perhaps Madrid will help Alonso make a decision about his future with the club (via FOX Sports).
No surprise here.
All-world forward Cristiano Ronaldo was his usual self on Wednesday, netting the lone goal for Madrid, but he wasn't dominant when they desperately needed him to be.
That could very well change next match, considering Ronaldo's track record.
Chances are Ronaldo will be in top form when these two clubs return to the Bernabeu, where he's manufactured so much success.
It wouldn't be the first—or second—time that the Portuguese national walked onto the pitch there and netted three goals in a dominating club victory. But if he were to do so in the second leg of this Champions League semifinal, it may be the most epic time he's done it.
Jose Mourinho made the decision to start Gonzalo Higuain over Karim Benzema at the striker position for this match, but it didn't end up working out. Higuain set up Ronaldo's goal, but he was unable to manufacture anything for himself.
Benzema admittedly hasn't had a stellar year in La Liga with just nine goals in 25 appearances, but he hasn't quite been bad enough to earn a spot on the bench for this huge match. Throughout the past season, the French international has been the most in-form striker for Madrid and sitting him Wednesday was a shame.
Hopefully for Madrid fans, Mourinho will learn from his mistake and put in Benzema to start out the second leg. He works better alongside Ronaldo, and those are the two positions you desperately need firing on all cylinders in order to put up three or more goals.