Real Madrid wins at Olympiastadion Berlin Thanks to Late-Goal by Dani Ceballos

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With Kepa’s return from injury and Fran García and Dani Ceballos’ return to the starting XI, Real Madrid would come from behind to beat Union Berlin 2-3 in an uphill battle, finishing their Champions League group stage run with a perfect record for the third time in their Club history after doing so in 2011 and 2014.

The highlight of the match was of course the 89th-minute stunner by Ceballos, helping the Spanish giants secure the victory in their final Champions League Group C match at Olympiastadion Berlin.

“Ceballos deserved his goal because it’s been tough for him to get back to fitness. He hasn’t had it easy,” expressed Carlo Ancelotti. “…but today, he was important and showed his quality as he had a really good game.”

Apart from the Ceballos late game winner, the fixture also featured a two-goal performance from Spanish forward Joselu as well as a goal from Union Berlin’s forward Kevin Volland and midfielder Alex Krái.

Real Madrid vs Union Berlin Match Action  

Union started well with a quick close range strike from Kevin Behrens that saw Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Kepa pull off an extraordinary one-handed save just within the first 55 seconds of the match.

Los Blancos would then respond back with close scoring opportunities from Joselu, with a headed shot that hit the crossbar in the 16th minute and another shot that went just wide to the left in the 43rd minute. They would then come close again to taking the lead just before the end of the half after a missed penalty shot by Luka Modric.

A minute later, within the first half’s added time, Volland would give Union Berlin the lead following David Alaba’s defensive mistake. The striker was able to control the ball just inside the box before placing the ball past the kepa’s legs and into the back of the net.

Joselu would then answer back for Real Madrid by leveling the match at one in the 61st minute. The inform Rodrygo would find the Spanish forward at the far post, where he was able to beat the defender in the air and head one in towards the left side of the goal.

10 minutes later, Joselu would strike again with a diving header, this time at the near post from a cross by García, giving Los Blancos the 2-1 lead.

The German side would then level the match at two with an outside-the-box goal from second half substitute Krái.

But in the 89th minute, Ceballos stepped up and sealed the deal for the Spanish giants, scoring the winning goal and his first goal of the competition this season.

Ancelotti Post-Match Reaction

“The game was a bit strange. We controlled the first half well, but two crazy minutes complicated everything. Fortunately in the second half we tried to be more efficient, putting crosses in as we have a forward who is good with his head and he scored two headers… but in the last two games [of the Champions League group stages], we have managed the advantage well; today and against Betis, we have to manage it better,” said Ancelotti. “You can’t think that with possession you can control everything, you have to finish things off.”

Ceballos, Joselu and Rodrygo

Ceballos return to the starting lineup rewarded Madrid with a late winner as well as an improved performance, than in his latest appearances in LaLiga, completing the match with two key passes and two completed dribbles.

The other goalscorer Joselu had a match to remember as his two-goal performance has now brought him up to eight goals so far this season with three total goals in the Champions League competition while Rodrygo has now been involved in five goal contributions in his last four group stage matches following tonight’s assist to Joselu. 

Perfect UCL Group Stage Record

Real Madrid’s third perfect winning run in the Champions League group stages marked them as the second team to ever record six straight wins. The first team to ever do it was FC Bayern Munich, when they won their six straight UCL group stage matches three times during the 2019/20, 2021/22, and 2022/23 seasons.

Another team to also finish with a 100% perfect record in Champions League group stage action this season is Manchester City, following their last victory in Matchday 6 of the competition against FK Crvena Zvezda, defeating them 2-3 at Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade, Serbia.

Shoutout to 1. FC Union Berlin

Despite ending their European run in last place, Union Berlin also made history by competing in their first ever UEFA Champions League tournament this year, gaining their first ever points in the competition with draws from SCC Napoli and S.C. Braga.

They secured their spot in this year’s European competition by placing fourth during the 2022/2023 Bundesliga season for the first time in Club history after a remarkable campaign and Matchday 34 fixture against SV Werder Bremen.

What’s Up Next in UCL Action? Next LaLiga Opponent?

Real Madrid has now qualified for the UCL knockout stages for the 28th time and will now wait for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw on Monday, December 18.

Before the draw, Real Madrid will return to the Santiago Bernabeu for its 23rd match of the 2023/24 season (across all competitions) as they’ll go up against Villarreal CF on Sunday, December 17.

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