Real Madrid Struggle in Champions League Group Stage

Sat 31 October 2020 | 19:04

Since Ronaldo’s departure before the 2018/19 season, Real Madrid has had an understandably tough period of reconstruction. Without their leading goal scorer, then-manager Julen Lopetegui had to rework the roster to find appropriate channels for the team’s ample, remaining talents.

Still, the club’s 2018/19 season wasn’t their crowning jewel. Tough losses in El Clásico and the UEFA Super Cup were rectified by Los Blancos taking the FIFA Club World Cup. But even their fourth FIFA Club World Cup title didn’t save them from being eliminated in both the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.

Zinédine Zidane returned as manager in March 2019 after less than a year away from the club. A series of big-name signings came afterward

including Eden Hazard

, Luka Jović, Éder Militão, Rodrigo, and Reiner. Despite the difficulties faced worldwide for the 2019-20 season, Los Blancos smashed the competition in a ten-game winning streak in La Liga.

Despite their domination of La Liga, the squad was once again eliminated from the Champions League. This year, the squad is struggling again in Group Stage B during qualifying rounds for the Champions League. They’ve lost to Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk, then tied German squad Mönchengladbach. They’re currently at the bottom of Group B with 1 point.

Despite their rough start in Group B, Los Blancos will have another shot at rivals Shakhtar Donetsk—though most fans have their eye on the 3 November faceoff against Inter.

Given the popularity of both teams, the match will attract thousands of remote viewers as well as wagers from sites like 

Online Betting Guide

 that offer expert betting picks and predictions on popular leagues.

All eyes will be on Real Madrid to defeat Inter, which will likely determine whether or not the team can make a turnaround in the Group Stage.

Madrid’s New Roster

Zidane’s troubles with Welsh star Gareth Bale have been circulating in rumor mills since Zidane first took his position with the club. This year, Bale was sent on loan to Tottenham Hotspur. Reiner is also on loan at Borussia Dortmund. Despite the absence of both Bale and Reiner, the Blancos roster is deep.

This begs the question of how players like Ramos, Benzema, Hazard, Modrić, Marcelo, Casemiro, and Nacho are struggling against teams like Shakhtar Donetsk and Mönchengladbach. Regardless, it seems the pressure may be mounting for Zidane, as 

Madrid looks at Mauricio Pochettino

 just in case the Frenchman leaves.

Still, Zidane’s troubles seem focused solely on the Champions League. Though the club has also lost to La Liga rivals Cádiz, his 2019-20 La Liga campaign is more than enough to hold over any concerns about the manager.

Crucial Win in El Clasico

Perhaps just as important as dominating La Liga in the previous 2019-20 season (and posting the club’s best national club defensive record in 30 years), Zidane and Los Blancos also managed to defeat Barcelona in this year’s El Clásico held on 24 October.

The match was a landslide for Los Blancos with a 3-1 finish. Though Barça led in possession and passes, Madrid was able to top their shots by five and shots on target by four. The La Liga results have been devastating for Barcelona as they sit 12th in the league and Real Madrid sits in second place.

Despite a 

controversial VAR incident

 with Sergio Ramos’s penalty in this year’s Clásico, the match showcased the club’s readiness to handle top competition under pressure. So, what’s the block in turning up the heat when it comes to the Champions League?

For the first time in more than 30 years, the club has lost three matches in a row in the Champions League. Some pundits point to reputation. Real Madrid shows up ready to fights like El Clásico because they know their opponent, whereas newcomers like Shakhtar Donetsk or lesser-known clubs like Mönchengladbach don’t produce the same adrenaline and battling spirit.

It seems Zidane will need to find a way to rile his team before their 3 November match against Inter.

source: SportMob