Can CSKA Moscow Overturn Reigning European Champions Real Madrid?

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 1, 2018: Real Madrid's players during a training session ahead of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League Group Stage match against CSKA Moscow. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images)

Real Madrid travel to Russia where they face CSKA Moscow in the second match of the Champions League group stage. Madrid will hope to bounce back after a 3-0 thumping in the league against Sevilla and a bore draw against Atletico Madrid.

Can Real Madrid be Stunned Against Russian Giants?

CSKA Will be Glad of Madrid’s Dip in Form

CSKA fans will be hoping their team can capitalise on the vulnerabilities Real showed in their last outings. At the same time, CSKA Moscow’s boss Viktor Goncharenko will be eager for his team to maintain focus throughout their match after nearly being stunned by Viktoria Plzen in their first game.

They had to wait until the 95th minute before they managed to equalise. Nikola Vlasic kept his cool and scored from the penalty spot to secure a point for the Russian side.

Bale Can be Key to Success and Thorn in the Back

Real Madrid’s main man, Gareth Bale, was wasteful in his last game out. He was described to have “squandered several good chances to score.” Since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale has been the centre of attention with many fans expecting him to step into his boots.

For sure, he will be the key to Madrid being able to bounce back with a win tomorrow. He will have to work on finishing chances, especially in key moments of the game. This is something that was spoken about after the game against Roma. Before scoring, Bale missed four easy chances to further his teams lead. The team still managed to impress though, winning by three goals to nil.

Moscow Will Depend on Counter-Attack and Home Support

CSKA Moscow will look upon key defenders such as Chernov and Figueira Fernandes to mark the likes of Bale and Isco out of the game. They will need to rely on their counter-attacking abilities to punish Madrid.

Home advantage may help CSKA as their fans are notorious for creating a lively and noisy atmosphere. Travelling away fans will have their work cut out for them if they are to be heard amongst the crowd.

Despite the fact the loss against Sevilla has been seen as such a negative it can also be seen in a positive way for the defending European Champions. Complacency is a huge part of football in the modern game. There are constant upsets across the continent nearly every weekend.

If Real had beaten Sevilla there may have been some level of complacency in the team, given the stature of CSKA Moscow. But the fact that they lost may push Madrid to play to their highest standards regardless of their opponent’s abilities. They have everything to prove now, to their fans, manager and to themselves.

Overall, Real Madrid will only be happy with a win tomorrow solidifying their position in the group. CSKA Moscow, however, will surely be happy with a draw against such huge opponents and will depend on Viktoria Plzen to do the same.

A win will disrupt the whole group outcome and will inspire football fans in Russia and across the world. Could this be the turning point in Real’s dominance or will the Champions show their class and superiority?

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