Real Madrid continued to show they have no inclination to relinquish their grip on the Champions League when they impressively defeated German giants Borussia Dortmund 3-1.
Under-fire Wales forward Gareth Bale opened the scoring, before teeing up Cristiano Ronaldo following the interval to put the visitors in charge. They then held resolute after the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put BVB back into it a few minutes later, with the game being sealed later on by Ronaldo’s second – for his 110th goal in the competition – thumped in at the near post.
Here, we examine the stars which shone at Westfalenstadion and those who need to buck up during the challenges to come in Group H.
What a way to quieten the boo-boys from the Bernabeu.
In a career chocked full of memorable goals, his effort in Germany will live long in the memory. A delicate lofted ball from rampaging right-back Dani Carvajal was met with a finely-calibrated first-time volley which rocketed past helpless Switzerland goalkeeper Roman Burki.
He then laid the winning goal on a plate for Ronaldo, courtesy of a precise low cross.
Bale had become the fall guy for Madrid’s stuttering start to 2017/18. Yet no-one could complain about these contributions.
He must hope the injury which caused him to trudge off near the death does not cause another unwelcome spell on the sidelines.
Madrid’s riches at full-back remain the envy of Europe.
Carvajal put in a peerless performance against Dortmund, diligently covering the defence and providing a devilish attacking threat in the other half.
Centre midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric would have been proud of his ball for Bale. Just as impressive was the pace shown soon after to prevent the jet-heeled Aubameyang from charging through for a one-on-one.
This was one of three tackles, which was the third-best figure registered by the men in Whites.
Harsh lessons must be learned by the 23-year-old prospect.
Toljan was consistently cut to pieces by Madrid’s beguiling attackers. Embarrassingly, the summer buy from Hoffenheim was floored by check-backs from Carvajal and Ronaldo – only forgiving finishing preventing further scores.
It was an act of mercy by head coach Peter Bosz when he withdrew his flailing defender – who made just one tackle and one interception – on the hour mark.
His pass-success rate of 73.2 per cent was only better than two of his team-mates.
It is fair to say the Turkey midfielder did nothing to elicit seller’s regret for Madrid in an hour-long run-out to forget.
Sahin – who made just four La Liga appearances from 2011-14 with the Spanish side – made a fine seven interceptions, yet his lack of athleticism could do nothing to prevent the visitors’ rapid counter-attacks from which they scored.
A 90.3 per cent pass accuracy may seem smart, but these were harmless balls from which Aubameyang struggled to feed.
When he was taken off on the hour mark, regret was etched across his face. A player of this talent, with amble inspiration provided, should have done better.
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