After Real Madrid defeated Barcelona in El Clasico at the Camp Nou, it was natural to expect them to travel to Germany with a boost in morale and confidence ahead of their showdown against 8th placed Bundesliga team, Wolfsburg. However, a dreadful performance left Los Merengues trailing 2-0 down at the end of the first leg and the hype of an away Clasico win is now history. The win over Barcelona has little significance in La Liga but it was meant to prove that they still have a say in Europe’s elite competition, the Champions League.
Brazilian duo, Casemiro and Danilo were catastrophic at the back, one gave away a penalty and the other was passive throughout the whole game. It was obvious that Zinedine Zidane had placed more importance on defeating Barcelona than reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League. He decided to rest James Rodriguez, Isco and Dani Carvajal for the midweek tie and he paid a heavy price. Despite the result, the tie is still open and either side can still qualify to the semi-finals. Now, Zidane is hoping to achieve what Madrid had failed to do since 1987 when they managed to turn a 4-2 deficit and go through. In fact, Wolfsburg is not the toughest team Madrid had faced this season and they have managed to win by two goals or more over 20 times this season. They have all the reasons to believe that they can win the second leg but they need to prove that they are up for the challenge just like they did in the weekend against Barcelona.
Now even if Real Madrid manage to overturn the 2 goal deficit, they are going to face a much tougher opponent in one of Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester City, PSG or possibly Atletico Madrid. There is no doubt that on their day, Zidane’s men can beat any of those, they have already beaten Barcelona and PSG this season but do they have what it takes to do it again? Psychologically, Madrid are unstable but nothing can be taken for granted and the unpredictability of the next round is what makes it more interesting.
Things did not go as planned and Los Blancos failed to make use of their win over Barcelona but they are still the favorites to make it to the semi-final. Real Madrid have nothing to fight for on a domestic level and now the home game against Wolfsburg will be the most important game of their season, they need to react properly and have their full squad available and fully fit for the clash if they are to change things around at the Santiago Bernabeu.