Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp revealed that the secret to stopping Real Madrid is taking playmaker Xabi Alonso out of the game, rather than trying to stop
free scoring forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Klopp’s team beat Real 2-1 in Dortmund and drew 2-2 in Madrid during the UEFA Champions League group stages, and was lauded for the
tactics he deployed.
"We knew where they would send their passes, how they look for Cristiano," Klopp said in an interview with El Pais. "Our plan was to take Xabi [Alonso] out of the game. Because if Alonso can play as he wants it is impossible to defend against Madrid. And [Mario] Gotze covered him. We knew that if our fullbacks, [Lukasz] Piszczek and [Marcel] Schmelzer, moved around a lot, the advantage would be on our side against Cristiano. If you block Xabi, you make it so Pepe always has the ball. That is a big difference."
While Real Madrid faces Manchester United in its Champions League Round of 16 first-leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid tonight, Klopp’s Dortmund faces Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine in its Round of 16 first-leg game.