Today was a very important match for Real Madrid. They had the possibility of either qualifying for the round of 16 or finishing in the third position and going to the lesser competition known as Europa League, or even worst, it was also possible for them to finish in the fourth position and end up eliminated from all European competition for the rest of the season.
In this Champions League group with Real Madrid, Inter, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Shakhtar every single team had the possibility of qualifying for the round of 16. The only positions that had zero chances of happening were Monchengladbach finishing in the fourth position and Inter finishing in the first position, apart from those options, every combination regarding the different positions of the teams was possible.
Since the beginning, it was clear that the favorites 2 teams for the round of 16 were Real Madrid and Inter, however, before today's matches these 2 teams were out of the first 2 positions which proves how competitive was this group. In the end, Real Madrid qualified in the first position and Inter finished in the last position, the fourth one which was a surprise for me.
In today's match between Real Madrid and Monchengladbach, it was very clear who was the better team. Real Madrid dominated from the beginning and they even deserved to win the match 3-0. A goal from Modric was disallowed due to an offside, and 3 different shots hit the posts, one from Modric, another from Benzema, and the last one from Lucas Vazquez.
Madrid's goals were 2 good headers from Benzema assisted by Vazquez and Rodrygo from the right side of the pitch. Monchengladbach was unable to control that zone of the pitch and Modric, Rodrygo and Vazquez imposed themselves generating a lot of opportunities for the team. The left side with Vinicius, Mendy, and Kross was not as productive but they still had a good match.
Monchengladbach wasn't capable of causing much danger to Courtois, he didn't have not even one important save in the entire match and didn't receive a single goal. The return of Sergio Ramos is certainly a welcomed surprise for Real Madrid's defense. I think Monchengladbach felt a little bit intimidated because they didn't even try to defeat Real Madrid, or at least that was my impression.
Monchengladbach is the team that scored 6 goals in their first match against Shakhtar and 4 goals in the second match against the same team. But I didn't see this energetic spirit in today's match against Real Madrid. As a curious note, Shakhtar's only victories and goals happened in their matches against Real Madrid. This is a group where every team could defeat any of its rivals which is why the group ended up looking like this:
As we can see, it was all very close and in the end, Real Madrid and Monchengladbach will participate in the round of 16 and Shakhtar will go to the Europa League competition.
Real Madrid's victory in today's match was well deserved, and thanks to a little bit of luck regarding the match involving the other teams, the first position goes to them. Real Madrid had luck regarding the other match not only today but also in the past week when Inter defeated Monchengladbach. Despite the fact Madrid's performance hasn't been very good in the season they still managed to finish in the first position in what was certainly the most competitive group in this year's edition of the Champions League.
Both of Benzema's goal happened in the first half, and after this comfortable advantage, Real Madrid began to play full of confidence. What surprised me the most was the see lack of reactions from Monchengladbach. It is true they also qualified for the round of 16 but that is only possible because Shakhtar and Inter tied in the other match. If Shakhtar or Inter had won, they would have qualified along with Real Madrid.
Now that the group stage of the Champions League is finished, the remaining matches in the following weeks are going to be from the national leagues. This Saturday I plan to see Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid which is the best match Spanish football can offer right now. Atletico Madrid has been the best Spanish team this season, and I think the only one capable of beating them right now is Real Madrid. Regarding the Champions League round of 16, the draw will happen next Monday.