Real Madrid 1-0 Union Berlin Video Mp4 Download
Real Madrid opened their Champions League campaign at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday as they welcomed Union Berlin to the Spanish capital for what would ultimately prove to be a last-gasp 1-0 victory for the Spanish side.
A tense first half saw neither side able to produce any clear cut chances, with an early Joselu header just wide the best chance of the first 45 minutes. The second half saw far more chances for the home side, with Rodrygo and Joselu hitting the woodwork, but it was without luck as neither side was able to find the back of the net until Jude Bellingham prodded home in injury time
Here are three stats that help to explain what happened as Real Madrid narrowly avoided drawing the opening game of a Champions League campaign at the Bernabéu for the first time.
2.49: Expected goals for Real Madrid before Bellingham’s winner
When Jude Bellingham poked home a winning strike with just seconds left on the injury time clock, it salvaged what was almost a disastrously frustrating night for Real Madrid. It was Real Madrid’s 32nd shot of the night which would eventually find its way in, but only after a series of chances which went begging.
Real Madrid had plenty of opportunities to break the deadlock earlier on, and it was a mixture of poor finishing and bad luck which almost cost them, with Bellingham’s chance at the death, worth 0.92 expected goals, essential to securing the three points.
The main man in attack was once again the centre forward, Joselu. He racked up an impressive 11 shots, worth 1.02 xG, and hit the post with one header while failing to score. Much of the service into Joselu came in as crosses, looking to find the target man who was engaged in a physical battle with the German defence.
Alongside him, Rodrygo Goes may well feel that he should have done better. While Joselu’s chances came more in quantity than in quality, he missed three so-called “big chances” with an xG of 0.84 from five shots. In comparison, his xG per shot was 0.17 compared to Joselu’s 0.09, meaning that the Brazilian was twice as likely to score.
There were concerning echoes of some pre-season performances in this game, with Vinícius Júnior missed in attack and a lack of support from the wide areas in terms of creating a goalscoring threat. Union Berlin’s deep defensive block was hard to break down, but Carlo Ancelotti may have a sleepless night thinking about how his team struggled to break down the Germans here
5: Chances created by Luka Modrić
This game didn’t produce the attacking show that some initially appeared to expect, but it did provide a timely reminder of what Luka Modrić can bring to Los Blancos with his passing and vision in the middle of the park.
The Croatian has featured in all six games this season, but this was only his second start following the clash with Getafe in LaLiga, and the 80 minutes he played on Wednesday night was his longest spell on the field yet in 2023/24.
Real Madrid’s starting midfield trio of Aurelién Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga alongside Modrić all performed well, providing a strong transition, but Modrić was the pick of the bunch. He created a total of five chances, with 0.41 expected assists, and played 14 passes into the final third.
The 38-year-old veteran completed 93% of his passes and also went very close to scoring with a fine effort on the outside of his left boot forcing Frederik Rønnow into a stretching save to deny him.
The other player to match Modrić for chances created was another player who has not featured much this season: Lucas Vázquez. The fill-in right-back looked clinical and provided a real offensive threat down the right without ever being exposed. With doubts surrounding Dani Carvajal’s fitness going into Sunday’s Madrid derby, he has certainly staked his claim.
150: Opponents faced in European competitions
This was the first time that Real Madrid took on Union Berlin, and in doing so made the Bundesliga side the 150th different opponent to take on Real Madrid in European competitions.
Wednesday night’s encounter was also Union Berlin’s first ever Champions League game, putting them in an exclusive group of teams who have made their debut in the competition against Real Madrid. The other sides to have such an accomplishment since the change in branding from the European Cup include Inter Milan (1998), Roma (2001), BATE Borisov (2008) and FC Zürich (2009), with all four previous games ending in a victory for Real Madrid.
The landmark figure reflects Real Madrid’s longevity in European competition, barely rivalled by any team in the game. This was Real Madrid’s 305th Champions League game and 27th season in a row participating in the competition.
5,000 German fans flooded the Bernabéu, dominating the top tier of the Fondo Norte, with smatterings of other fans dressed out in red across the ground. It was evident that the Union Berlin fans did not want to miss out on what was a monumental moment in their club’s history, and understandably so.