Pros and cons
Contributing one goal and setting up another, Aubameyang left Real Madrid devoid of options to finish the group stage top of their section, and sent them into Pot 2, with Sevilla ... It means that in the next round, they will play the first leg at their stadium and the return away from home - and that is a disadvantage. But it also turns out that the assortment of teams who did end as champions of their group seems to be, theoretically, less potent that the group who finished as runners-up - a situation we could see developing even before MatchDay 6. Madrid could be drawn against Juventus, Arsenal, Leicester, Napoli or Monaco. Sevilla could be pitted against any of the teams in that list, but swapping Juve for Borussia Dortmund. Both will avoid Bayern and Manchester City in the next round, as they too have landed in Pot 2. Overall, it's quite a strange situation.
Madrid went in search of victory in an what was an attractive game for the viewer. Dortmund are one of those sides who, shall we say, ‘like to play and let their opponents play’. They attack with generosity, pile a lot of players in front of the ball, don't go over the top in defending, or concentrate play in midfield. Their aptitude for attacking a defence which has closed shop isn't so good, but when they intercept their rivals taking the ball out of the first third, or mount a counter attack, they are extremely dangerous. Against such a side last night, Madrid had a good hour of the game, enjoying the ball and the game itself. Benzema redeemed himself with two goals as did James with the game he put in. The downside is that once they were 2-0 up, Madrid withered.
Zidane could be seen making gestures on the touchline, reproaching the two forwards, Cristiano and Benzema, who by that time had stopped dropping back to help out with defensive chores. Neither player took much notice. Dortmund pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 and Madrid made an effort to restore their lead. Benzema had an effort cleared off the line by Reus, and Cristiano struck the woodwork. But the team were careless in the final minutes, Aubameyang made a beeline for goal and he is one of those players who, if you cede even just a metre, you are never going to catch him. In the blink of an eye, it was 2-2. A draw and suspicions raised... the pot from which Barça and Atlético's will be drawn includes PSG, Bayer Leverkusen, Porto, Benfica and Borussia Dortmund - plus Bayern in Barça's case and Man City in Atlético's case. The discussions will continue, but not for the better I fear...