Deadly duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (l.) and Marco Reus (r.) are back on song for Borussia Dortmund after the latter's recovery from injury. - © © imago / Sven Simon
Deadly duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (l.) and Marco Reus (r.) are back on song for Borussia Dortmund after the latter's recovery from injury. - © © imago / Sven Simon

Top spot beckons for Dortmund in Madrid

Borussia Dortmund head to the Spanish capital for their final outing of the UEFA Champions League group stage on Wednesday night (kick-off 20:45CET/19:45GMT), knowing that a draw against Real Madrid CF will be enough to secure top spot in Group F.

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- © gettyimages / Alex Grimm

Dortmund will be determined to round out a spectacular group phase on a high note as they look to pip the reigning European champions to top spot. The Black-and-Yellows have certainly impressed on the continent this term, with a couple of narrow wins over Sporting Clube de Portugal, and two not-so-narrow wins over Legia Warszawa.

- © gettyimages / Christof Koepsel

They also held Real to a 2-2 draw in Germany on Matchday 2, and are unlikely to be intimidated as they travel to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the reverse fixture. Admittedly, history is not on BVB's side – they have yet to beat Real on Spanish soil – but with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus firing on all cylinders, Thomas Tuchel's side will be confident that they can upset the form book.

With 15 goals in 12 Bundesliga outings, Aubameyang not only leads the domestic scoring charts, he is also the top marksman across Europe this season. With another three goals in the Champions League, the Gabonese star is up to 18 goals in 18 appearances in all competitions. And with his old partner-in-crime Reus back on the scene, the sky is the limit.

"Marco is like my brother," Aubameyang admitted after Saturday's 4-1 dismissal of Borussia Mönchengladbach. "I'm really happy he's back. We have to keep going, and keep fighting for the team."

Reus' recent performances have reminded Dortmund just what they were missing in his absence. In the incredible 8-4 demolition of Legia, he scored two goals and set up three more – not bad for a man who had not played a competitive game in 185 days. He made his first Bundesliga start since May against Gladbach, and provided a hat-trick of assists – including an audacious backheel for Aubameyang's second.  

"When we score a goal and get into a groove, we are really good," said the German international. "But we need to find more consistency in our game, especially defensively."

Watch: Reus wants to see Dortmund build on their Matchday 13 win over Gladbach:

Dortmund's defensive discipline will indeed be one of the keys to the Real clash. Tuchel's side have only managed a single clean sheet in their last five outings (in their 1-0 victory over FC Bayern München in Der Klassiker), and conspired to let in four against Legia last time out.

Then again, Real conceded three goals against the Polish champions on Matchday 4, as they were held to a shock 3-3 draw. Zinedine Zidane's men will also have to contend with the most formidable attack in this year's competition – Dortmund have netted 19 times in five matches, and are just one shy of the record tally of 20 goals for a group stage campaign.

The 2013 runners-up have already won twice on the road in the Champions League this season, setting a club record in the 6-0 win at Legia. They will now be hoping that Aubameyang, Reus and the rest can steer them to another positive result in the Spanish capital, and boost their hopes of a run to the business end of the competition.

Andy Smith

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