Arsène Wenger

Real still hold edge over Dortmund despite recent slump

Arsene Wenger

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Dortmund may have knocked out Real Madrid last season but don't expect the same thing to happen this time.

In football, you can play against the same team every day and you will never see the same match twice.

When I looked at the draw initially I thought it would be pretty comfortable for Real because Dortmund were struggling and had a lot of injured players while Real hadn't lost in 30 games.

Then everything changed in a week. Dortmund look steady again while Real lost two times in three days. The psychological context has changed and the tie looks more balanced. I would still put Madrid as my favourites, but it’s a bit tighter.

Real will seek revenge for last season but that desire is only one aspect of the game. There is something stronger, more subtle and more subconscious that goes into a team’s fluidity. It’s this sort of trust and confidence between the team that passes through the soul and links the players together. When results go against you, this little fluidity can disappear.

It’s a tricky time for Real after their recent defeats and the whole team must handle it correctly. They must overcome their recent disappointments and if the game goes against them, this is where the true test lies.

In the defeat against Sevilla we saw some tension between the 'BBC' of Benzema, Bale and Cristiano for the first time - Ronaldo seemed frustrated. The pressure is so high all the time on these players that if things don't go as they wish, they can suffer. It’s true that it’s a remarkable trio though; Benzema is having a great season.

Real are one of the European teams I like watching the most. They are really interesting in the way they develop their game, and the speed with which they get the ball forward once they have it.

The BBC are only three players but they always seem faster than the defence. They trust each other, nobody interferes, and there is a really nice level of comprehension between them. The key quality of a good striker is his capacity to anticipate. He is in the right place at the right time a bit before the defence, he understands what's going on faster and I think Benzema has these qualities.

With players like Xabi Alonso, Modric and Di Maria in midfield too, it means Real can cause problems as soon as they get the ball.

Dortmund are capable of qualifying but Real are the favourites for me.

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