Real Madrid still need Ronaldo after hat-trick hero rescues their Champions League campaign


Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo stole the headlines after bagging a hat-trick against Wolfsburg to book the side’s place in the Champions League semi-finals in dramatic fashion. Los Blancos had lost 2-0 to the German Bundesliga side in the first leg, but scored the required three goals at the Santiago Bernabeu to make it to the final four.

And not for the first time, Ronaldo was their saviour, scoring a typically eclectic treble to turn the tie on its head. The Portuguese international bagged his first goal with a close range finish, capitalising on some woeful defending from Wolfsburg. Dani Carvajal intercepted a sloppy pass in the middle of the park, and curled in a cross for Ronaldo that somehow evaded a number of Wolfsburg players.

Making no mistake from six yards out for the opener, Ronaldo then levelled the tie on the night just minutes later. Brilliantly heading home from a Toni Kroos corner, Ronaldo clawed Real Madrid from the mire on his own, and rallied the supporters to cheer them on to victory. The fans would have to wait until midway into the second-half for the winner, but it was certainly worth it.

In the 77th minute, Ronaldo perfectly rifled home a free-kick from distance to swing the game Real Madrid’s way and give them a lifeline in the Champions League. Despite their 2-0 defeat in the first leg, many expected Real to progress given their home advantage, and in truth they could have won more comfortably. Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos had opportunities to score, but the night belongs to Ronaldo.

The former Manchester United forward has been heavily criticised this season for his inconsistency and lack of goals in away games earlier in the campaign. But in typical Ronaldo fashion, he answered his doubters with a brilliant individual showing to claw Real Madrid from the mire once more, and it’s clear just how much the club would miss a player of his ability.

Ronaldo, 31, took his Champions League tally to 16 goals in 10 games, and he’s still got a two-legged semi-final to come. His manager Zinedine Zidane showered him in praise after the game too, saying: “It hasn’t been easy. I’m very proud of what happened tonight. I have a sensation of a job well done. Cristiano Ronaldo is demonstrating exactly what he is. The best player in the world, but he also needs the help of his teammates.”

Will Real Madrid overturn a 2-0 deficit against Wolfsburg in the Champions League?

Real Madrid will host Wolfsburg on Tuesday, April 12th knowing the mission is to score at least three times while making sure the German visitors do not find the back of the net.

On paper, Real’s firepower, spearheaded by the club’s all-time leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo should carry too much venom for the German side’s defenders. Ronaldo is having a great season from a statistical perspective despite a gradual decline in his performances. Despite turning 31-years-old during this season, the Portuguese superstar has still managed to score a remarkable tally of 30 goals in just 32 league starts. He also provided his teammates with 11 assists in Spain’s La Liga.


In the Champions League, Ronaldo has an even more impressive record with 13 goals and 4 assists in just 9 games! Can Wolfsburg hold Ronaldo to another scoreless game? Follow the latest match scores of the Champions League as they happen live by clicking here.

Real Madrid will still progress in the Champions League despite Wolfsburg defeat

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid suffered a surprise defeat to Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash, and many believe their chances of reaching the semis have faded. However, given how many goals Los Blancos usually fire at the Santiago Bernabeu, the home leg to come later this month could still result in the Spanish giants coming out on top.

Zinedine Zidane’s men had an early goal ruled out at the Volkswagen Arena, and things went from bad to worse after conceding a penalty which was duly converted by Ricardo Rodriguez. Minutes later, Maxi Arnold would double Wolfsburg’s advantage inside of half an hour, leaving the Spaniards with a mountain to climb. The Real boss remains optimistic, however.

“The only thing we can do is be calm. I am not going to go crazy, the players neither. We are hurting, as to lose always hurts. Physically we have suffered, above all in the first half. We lacked, above all, mobility in all the lines, above all at the start. But now we know we have chance to change this. Being Real Madrid we know we can turn this around at the Bernabeu with our fans,” said Zidane.

Real Madrid certainly shouldn’t be panicking about their chances of reaching the final four given their outstanding record on home soil. In the Champions League alone, the Spaniards have a 100% record at the Santiago Bernabeu in Europe this season, scoring 15 goals from four home games without conceding. In La Liga, Real have been even more dominant which will give them confidence of turning the tie around.

Zidane’s men need to win by three clear goals to progress into the next round, and have scored three or more goals in nine of their last 10 games in the league. They have this season’s Champions League top scorer in the attack in Cristiano Ronaldo, and are sure to start the game fast to get themselves in front as early as possible. Wolfsburg did well to win on Wednesday, but their away form is a worry.

The German Bundesliga side have picked up only one away win in the division since October, and have lost two of four games on the road in the Champions League too. Few sides come away with anything at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Real’s dominance on home soil should see them turning their aggregate deficit into a comfortable win later this month.

Manchester United all but sealing their Champions League fate following bore draw with PSV


In the Champions League this week, Manchester United were below-par in Wednesday night’s goalless draw with PSV Eindhoven at Old Trafford, and now the Red Devils have a difficult task to stay in the competition this season. Louis van Gaal’s side finished the evening second in the group after five games, but have to win away to the group leaders Wolfsburg in order to book their place in the knockouts.

The Red Devils could be caught by third-placed PSV Eindhoven, who are only one point behind, and have a home outing to come against whipping boys CSKA Moscow in game week six. This means United could be eliminated from the Champions League if the Dutch Eredivisie side can better their result in the final round of games. United needed just a single goal against PSV to be in the knockouts, but now they have to go against form to prolong their stay in Europe.

Wolfsburg are top of Group B after five games and boast a 100% record on home soil. No side has even scored past the Germans in their own backyard. Manchester United are winless away from home in the Champions League, but did beat the Wolves at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign. Nevertheless, the pressure is on should PSV win their clash against CSKA, and given the Dutch side have a 100% record at home, compared to Moscow’s back-to-back defeats on the road, Eindhoven’s clash should be a home banker.

So only a win will do for Manchester United on a ground no side has picked up a result in, from a team without a victory on their European travels. There are a lot of factors conspiring against the Red Devils, and in truth it looks like their Champions League campaign is over. While picking up results in the Premier League in recent weeks, Van Gaal’s side look far form convincing, and supporters have long become discontent with the pedestrian playing style.

Despite the gulf in class on the teamsheets, PSV were comfortable against Manchester United at Old Trafford. They have also now taken four points from the Red Devils in the group, so if they are level on points after game week six, PSV’s superior head-to-head record will see them overtake United. Failure to qualify would mean a second competition chalked off the objectives, following October’s elimination from the Capital One Cup, and playing in the Europa League wouldn’t be any sort of solace for a team of United’s calibre.

Wolfsburg’s Kevin de Bruyne destined for bigger things

Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has enjoyed an outstanding season for the current Bundesliga runners-up, and his future with the German club is already under speculation ahead of what promises to be a busy summer. The Belgian international, 23, has been a standout performer in the division, providing more assists (17) than any other player, while scoring 10 goals as well.

His influence has helped Wolfsburg to second in the table, but it is unknown if De Bruyne will remain with the club next season to build on the success achieved this campaign. Reports are suggesting his agent has held talks with French Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain ahead of a big-money move this summer, but it is unlikely any deal could be agreed at this early stage, and there are a host of big European clubs seeking to sign the talented Belgian.

Signed from Chelsea for £18M in January 2014, the 23-year-old has since proven to his former employers that they made a big mistake in letting him go. De Bruyne is now regarded as one of the best young talents in the world, and could well be in the frame to win the Bundesliga Player of the Year award as a result. Even former Chelsea & Belgian teammate Eden Hazard believes his manager made a mistake in letting him leave.

“He is a great player. Mourinho decided to let him go and not play him. It was not my decision, even though I know very well that he could play at Chelsea because he has tremendous qualities. I think at Chelsea, you have more pressure than Wolfsburg. It’s a shame he’s gone but he’ll have a successful career,” he said.

However, if reports are to be believed, he could make a return to the Premier League next season, with Manchester City having shown interest in his services. The Sky Blues need to replace a number of fallen stars on their squad, and De Bruyne could well enjoy many years to come at the top based on his recent development and impressive performances.

“I have met the people from Manchester City and we know each other. A lot of other clubs have been in touch to find out some general information. In the next few weeks I will be going around the world to talk about the situation with Kevin, but it is a little bit too early to be making any decisions. We will have to see what (Wolfsburg) want to do. They paid €24M (to originally sign him) so I can see (his improved asking price) being a lot more than that,” said his agent earlier this month.

Where will Kevin De Bruyne go this summer?

Is Mourinho regretting De Bruyne’s sale with Fabregas’ & Oscar’s slump in form?

With Wolfsburg playmaker Kevin de Bruyne continuing to impress in the German Bundesliga and the Europa League, while Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas and Oscar have been struggling for form as of late, is manager Jose Mourinho regretting the sale of the Belgian star?

Chelsea let Kevin de Bruyne go for £18M, with Mourinho and the 23-year-old having had somewhat of a fallout over the midfielder’s efforts in training. But since his move to Germany, De Bruyne has quickly become one of the best young playmakers in Europe. He has created more chances in the Bundesliga than Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar. The young Belgian has scored and created 25 goals in 26 games.

Considering he’s only 23 years of age, letting him go for £18M seems like an undersell by Chelsea, and De Bruyne has made his feelings clear about his former manager, saying: “”I still don’t know why I lost my place. (Mourinho) has never told me (I didn’t train well), so it was a pity he told a press conference I wasn’t doing well on the training pitch. After the conference I trained harder, even on my days off, but my situation never changed. That’s why I asked him ‘please let me go’,” he said.

Fabregas and Oscar have been providing creativity from the central part of the field, but have gone quiet in the second-half to the season. The Spanish international in particular has struggled in recent weeks and has only provided two assists in his last 11 games, while Oscar has failed to score or create a goal in any of his previous 11 in all competitions. De Bruyne, in contrast, is in fine form, and continues to go from strength to strength for Wolfsburg. He’s also impressed in Europe, scoring five goals and giving five assists in the Europa League this season.

Kevin de Bruyne wasn’t initially signed by Mourinho at Chelsea, but he’s sure to regret letting him go for so little, considering how impressive he has been since joining the German league. He added: “(I left Chelsea) because I lost my joy. Mourinho told me he wasn’t keen to let me go, even on loan, saying: ‘You’re a good player.’ But what could I do more?”

The Belgian’s exit was the result of broken trust, yet it appears Chelsea could certainly do with his creative juices at this crucial point of the season, with the Portuguese manager’s insistence on making little changes to the side seemingly tiring out his squad.

So will the Blues boss go on to regret De Bruyne’s sale?

In-form Wolfsburg to win this season’s Europa League?

German Bundesliga high-flyers Wolfsburg made a real statement of intent on Thursday night, with the in-form outfit seeing past Inter Milan in the last-16 first leg of the Europa League. The Wolves won 3-1, and were the dominant and deserving winners at the Volkswagen Arena. They find themselves now as the bookies’ favourite to win the competition, with Italian Serie A side Napoli close behind, but is the Europa League now the Germans’ to lose.

Second in the league table, where they are also unbeaten at home, Dieter Hecking’s side have been flying this season. Their form has been replicated in Europe too, with only two defeats suffered in their eight games in the competition – home and away to Everton. They have seen past the likes of Lille and Sporting Lisbon to make it this far, and made light work of Inter Milan, who many thought were outsiders to go all the way. They have a tricky second leg tie to come at the San Siro, but the Wolves have one foot into the quarter-finals.

Wolfsburg, Napoli, Sevilla and Roma are deemed as the strongest sides left in the competition, and all four will fancy their chances again each other too. It’s all to play for, but the Germans boast some incredible talent that could prove to be the difference. Having the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Andre Schurrle, Bas Dost and Ricardo Rodriguez in the side means they have such an attacking threat that always guarantee goals.

Their form has been solid in all competitions too, so they have momentum at the perfect time in the season. A lot of teams can be affected with European commitments hampering their league form. It’s certainly playing it’s part in Everton’s struggles, but Wolfsburg have gone from strength to strength. Their impressive season has perhaps come one campaign earlier than expected, with the club now enjoying lucrative financial backing to sign a high class of player, but a Europa League win would propel the club to new heights.

Their current position in the Bundesliga will guarantee them Champions League football regardless, but winning a European trophy certainly makes them a more attractive proposition for potential targets in the summer. But can they win the Europa League this season? Somebody has to, and their form would suggest they are more than in the running to go all the way. Only one team has managed to beat them in the competition so far, and results have continued to improve since.

Wolfsburg resurgence suggests Bundesliga title is not wrapped up as first thought

The German Bundesliga title previously looked sewn up by Bayern Munich earlier on in the season, but wealthy Wolfsburg have hit some incredible form over the last few months to become Bayern’s only genuine competition for the league crown at the business end to the campaign.

Bayern, managed by Pep Guardiola, are back-to-back Bundesliga title winners, and found themselves 11 points clear of second place after the last round of league games in 2014. But Wolfsburg have narrowed the deficit since then, beating the holders after the winter break, while extending their unbeaten run to eight games.

The German giants have spent in the January transfer window on attacking talent, and it seems to be having the desired effect so far. Wolfsburg won the Bundesliga title in 2008/09, but that remains their only top-four finish in more than 15 years.

Current head coach Dieter Hecking has been in charge for three years, in which time he’s finished 11th in his first season (2012/13) and 5th last season (2013/14). Many felt the German Bundesliga had lost all excitement due to Bayern’s dominance, but Wolfsburg could well cause the biggest shock of the European leagues by toppling the back-to-back winners.

Wolfsburg 4-1 win against Bayern in January sent shockwaves through Europe, and was the first defeat Guardiola‘s men had suffered in the league all season. The Wolves are a growing team considerably benefiting from financial intervention, and are starting to believe the title is now a two-horse race.

The Bayern manager is certainly feeling Wolfsburg breathing down his neck, and recently said: “Wolfsburg will be our biggest rivals (for the Bundesliga title). I have no doubt about it that they are our main challengers.”

Spending £24M to sign Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle was a statement of intent from a side who aren’t settling on just a top-four finish this season. Bayern have dropped points in two of their three games played since the winter break, so hardly spectacular, while their title rivals go from strength to strength in contrast. Bayern and Wolfsburg have nearly identical home form this season. The latter have played a game more and have amassed an extra point, while both are still unbeaten in front of their own fans. It’s the Wolves’ away performances that have seen them with ground to make up on Bayern.

One win from their last four away games highlights their problems, but a win in their next away game to Bayer Leverkusen would be a huge statement of intent. The German Bundesliga title race is far from over this season thanks to Wolfsburg resurgence, but could they go all the way?