Remontada, Remontada, Remontada for Madrid

Posted by Nicholas Rigg

It's been all about the R-word in Madrid over the last week.

Not Real Madrid and not Ronaldo. Not Ramos and no, not even Raul Albiol, despite the back-up defender enjoying a good game in Madrid's 2-1 derby victory against Atletico at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday night.

Remontada, or, in English, recovery.

Los Blancos rarely find themselves in the near-impossible situation they do Tuesday, needing to overcome a 4-1 deficit against Borussia Dortmund to keep their hopes and dreams of La Decima alive.

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For some of the bad press Madrid fans get for the lack of atmosphere at the Bernabeu, they're certainly doing a good job of ramping up hope and belief among supporters -- and, to some extent, the players.

Around the Bernabeu are hand-made posters stuck up showing motivational messages and, for those using the power of Twitter, hashtagging #Remontada. A quick search on the site brings up thousands of good-luck messages from around the world for Los Blancos ahead of Tuesday's game.

Messages have been sent out to supporters to attend the match in white, taking scarves and flags to create a sea of white in the all-blue seats of the Bernabeu. If that fails, white cards have been taped to seats to create an all-white mosaic ahead of kick-off.

Dortmund fans began to arrive in the Spanish capital on Monday, and by the looks of things headed straight to the Bernabeu. They toured the ground, went in the restaurant for breakfast and took no end of pictures. They were seemingly in awe.

Dortmund have been to the Bernabeu already in the group stages this season, but Los Blancos will hope the #Remontada atmosphere leaves the visiting players in a similar frame of mind as their supporters -- in awe, and nervous.

The Bundesliga side has held the upper hand over Madrid three times this season. Last week's stunning win was no fluke -- even Madrid boss Jose Mourinho admitted that. In Group D, Dortmund finished ahead of Madrid thanks to victory on home soil and a draw at the Bernabeu. The Germans will be favourites Tuesday and rightly so.

Madrid has belief, however. Since last Wednesday's defeat, famous victories have been highlighted on the club's website and throughout the Spanish football press. English Championship club Derby County has rarely been in the limelight as much in Spain -- Madrid came from 4-1 down against the Rams to win 5-1 at the Bernabeu in the 1976 European Cup.

Mourinho and the majority of his men have been keeping their distance from such comeback stories, and the Remontada motion, although clearly they believe the deficit can be overturned in their own backyard. Others, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, have been buying into it.

As it is, Madrid need to win by at least three goals, depending on if the Germans breach the home defence. Opponents aside, it's a scoreline that is far from impossible for a side who score goals for fun on home soil.

Madrid has scored 78 goals in 24 matches at the Bernabeu this season -- 3.25 a game. An average that would see Los Blancos through. In Mourinho's matches in charge at home, his men have won by three goals on more 33 times, or 40 percent of the time.

It would be naive to take those stats away from the context of playing a side with the quality of Dortmund, of course, but Madrid has the goals, especially if Dortmund continue to attack in search of what would be a crucial away goal.

Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has said his side will not completely shut up shop, insisting that one of his team's biggest strengths is their attack. While posing a big threat to Diego Lopez's goal, that approach will at least leave Madrid the chance to hit on the counter-attack and pick gaps in Dortmund's defence, albeit more compact than usual.

That is Los Blancos' biggest hope. For a team to completely come out and defend may be risky at a ground such as the Bernabeu, but unlike teams such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Madrid often get frustrated in their attempts to unlock an all-out defence, as has been proved domestically this season. That is especially the case when an opponent is sitting tight to Xabi Alonso and thwarting the creativity from deep.

Madrid ultimately crashed out of last season's Champions League semi-final on penalties against German opposition Bayern Munich, but Mourinho and his men will seek a similar opening, which saw Ronaldo net twice inside the first 14 minutes. To offer another penalty shoot-out against a German squad again would see Madrid snap some hands off.

Spirits were at least lifted on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Atleti that stretched Madrid's unbeaten record against their neighbours to 25 matches, and 14 years. Mourinho fielded a near-second string side but Angel di Maria, who is set to start against Dortmund and could be crucial, played and played well.

Madrid's task Tuesday is the biggest Mourinho has faced since arriving in the Spanish capital. He may draw mixed responses from within La Liga, and indeed from within Madrid and the Bernabeu, but if he manages to orchestrate a famous Remontada tonight he will cement his place in the club's history. That's if he, as well as his players, get the credit.

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