Real Madrid need to avoid defeat on Wednesday against Basle to guarantee a top spot in their group, and with their current red-hot form, it’s hard to imagine anything else other than a win from Ancelotti’s men.
However, Basel are no pushovers, especially not at home. The mere fact that they have scored 16 and conceded just one in their last five matches in all competitions show that they mean business.
Basel will face Liverpool at Anfield in the 6th and final match day of the Champions League group stage, and seeing as how the 2 teams are only separated by 3 points, Basel don’t look likely to settle for finishing the night with zero points. Yet as much as they might want to earn at least a point off of the reigning European champions, Real Madrid’s blazing results recently almost promise a record-tying 15thstraight win for Ancelotti’s men.
Basel vs Real Madrid: Key talking points
Real Madrid have won 14 consecutive matches in all competitions, the second longest winning run in the history of the club. And just 1 win short of the record set by Miguel Munoz and Jose Mourinho of 15 straight wins. Even though it practically take a miracle for Real Madrid not to finish at the top of their group, the motivation needed for Wednesday’s showdown will not be absent as everybody wants to itch their names into the record books as the squad that won 15 straight matches. There are, however, a few things that might prove to be troublesome for Ancelotti in achieving that feat:
- Fatigue: the top Real Madrid players have had to play at least 2 matches in the most recent international break and were rushed straight back to play at recently promoted Eibar. Furthermore the absence of Luka Modric means that Ancelotti might have to keep Toni Kroos in the starting line-up as he can’t afford to completely switch his midfield duo with a couple of players who are not used to each other.
- Conservative Play: Real Madrid current situation sees them all but assured the top spot in their group, they are already into the next round, they are sitting top of La Liga with just 2 points separating them from Barcelona, and most importantly they’re visiting Malaga in a very difficult match on Saturday. Therefore it might not be shocking to see Ancelotti risk a loss by fielding an entirely different team to the one we got used to in recent months in the hopes of keeping his main men fresh for Malaga’s visit. At the top of the list Ancelotti might choose to preserve are Cristiano, Kroos, and James. Cristiano has played almost all Real Madrid matches since returning from injury. Kroos is the second most used player in real Madrid’s squad, and James Rodriguez has appeared in every single Madrid match so far this season.
- Basel’s form: As mentioned earlier on, Basel are enjoying a fine run of form. They sit atop the Swiss Super League thanks to their 5 match-winning streak (ongoing). They have also conceded just once in those latest 5 matches. They are especially dangerous at home this season with 8 wins and 25 goals from 11 matches in all competitions. They are not too shabby on the defensive side either with only 7 goals conceded and 5 clean sheets in all competitions at home this season.
Looking at the variables, one thing becomes clear, Real Madrid are still the outright favorites but if they were to win on Wednesday, Basel will not make it easy for them.
Basle vs Real Madrid: Statistics
Below are some select fact and figures previewing Wednesday’s match:
- Real Madrid have won 15 of the 17 UCL matches since Carlo Ancelotti became manager.
- Since Ancelotti became manager, Real Madrid have scored 52 goals in JUST 17 Champions League matches, at a rate of 3.06 goals per match.
- Real Madrid have lost just 1 of their last 18 Champions League matches.
- Real Madrid have won 12 of their last 13 Champions League matches.
- Real Madrid are currently on a 7-match winning streak in the UCL.
- Real Madrid have scored in 40 of their last 41 Champions League matches.
- Basel have only won 8 of their last 18 Champions League matches.
- Basel have only conceded 1 goal in their last 3 Champions League matches.
- If Cristiano scores tonight/tomorrow vs Basel, it will be the 21st city that he has scored at in the UCL (second most in history).
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in EACH of his last 11 Champions League matches away from home (all-time competition record).
- The ‘BBC’ have scored 9 goals in the UCL this season, more than 23 of the 31 teams participating in the 2014/15 UCL.
- Real Madrid have scored 36 goals in only 11 away matches in all competitions this season (average of 3.27 goals per match).