'Dortmund and Real evenly matched'

Real Madrid defender Marcelo believes club face a fierce battle to reach their first Champions League final in 11 years.

    'Dortmund and Real evenly matched'
    All to play for: Real face a potential mouth-watering final against Barcelona – if they can beat Bayern Munich [AFP]

    Real Madrid defender Marcelo said on Monday that he believes his side's clash with Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals of the Champions League will be a very open affair - despite their recent record.

    The two have already met twice in the group stages of this season's competition, with Dortmund taking four points off the Spanish champions, and the Brazilian international knows Madrid face a fierce battle if they are to reach their first Champions League final in 11 years.

    "We are clear that we want to arrive at this much-anticipated final but we also know that Borussia are a very strong team," he said at a sponsor's event in Madrid.

    "We drew with them in the Bernabeu and we know it will be very difficult because they are a great side.

    "They also like to attack a lot and in the way we attack we are similar."

    German threat

    With 11 goals in his last 11 games Marcelo highlighted Robert Lewandowksi as the Germans biggest threat but he believes Madrid's team spirit could be enough to carry them into the final after having gone out at this stage for the past two years.

    "Lewandowski is a difficult man to defend. The whole team is very strong, so we cannot fixate on just one player and we will see what happens because we are desperate to go to the final.

    "The team is very united in the dressing room and you notice this on the pitch.

    "Many times I hear people talking about the 10th European Cup. It is a dream for the supporters but we are first dreaming about getting to the final and going step-by-step.

    "We have a great chance and we will see if we can achieve it."

    The 24-year-old may not be involved for the semi-final ties, though, as he had lost his place in the side to Fabio Coentrao since injuring a metatarsal whilst on international duty back in October.

    Marcelo returned to first-team action at the beginning of February but has only recently won back Jose Mourinho's confidence after the Portuguese criticised his physical shape upon his return.

    "I had a difficult winter," Marcelo admitted.

    "But my objective was to arrive at the end of the season in good shape and I am already much better."

    SOURCE: AFP


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