Real Madrid have progressed to the last-16 stage of the Champions League this season after their win against Borussia Monchengladbach at home on Wednesday evening.
The defending La Liga champions got the better of Bundesliga club Monchengladbach 2-0 at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.
Karim Benzema was the star of the show for Los Blancos, as the France international striker scored both the goals.
The 32-year-old made it 1-0 to Madrid after just nine minutes when he headed in a cross from Lucas Vazquez.
The striker doubled the advantage on 31 minutes when he scored with another header, this time from a cross from Rodrygo.
Zinedine Zidane’s side had gone into the match in third place in Group B and were in danger of not progressing to the last-16 stage of Europe’s premier club competition, but they ended up as group winners with 10 points from six matches.
It has not been the best of group-stage performances from the 13-time European champions, who are now rated at 14/1 by Betfair to win the competition this season, but they stepped up under pressure.
Here are three things we learned from Madrid’s win against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Wednesday evening:
Karim Benzema is Real Madrid’s most important player
Karim Benzema has taken over from Cristiano Ronaldo as the most important player for Madrid. The French striker scores goals and turns up at important moments in games. The former Lyon star was at the right place at the right time against Monchengladbach, and for Madrid to be successful this season, he will have to be on top of his game throughout the season. Benzema has scored four goals and provided three assists in La Liga and has scored four goals in the Champions League for Los Blancos so far this season.
Real Madrid can win the Champions League this season
True, in terms of pure squad strength and form, there are better teams than Madrid in the Champions League, but the Spanish and European giants showed on Wednesday evening that they cannot be ruled out. The last-16 draw is also going to be favourable for Madrid, who will face FC Porto, Atalanta, Lazio or RB Leipzig in the next round.
Lucas Vazquez is a big player for Real Madrid
Lucas Vazquez does not always get the praise, but the winger is fast proving to be a big player for Madrid. The 29-year-old Spain international was brilliant during Los Blancos’s win against Barcelona in El Clasico, and he turned on the style against Monchengladbach on Wednesday evening.The Spain international, who started at right-back, took three shots, played five key passes, had a pass accuracy of 88.2%, took 120 touches, made one tackle, one interception and one clearance, and put in five crosses.