Bale Benched As Struggling Real Madrid Battle Ajax
Gareth Bale was relegated back to the bench for Real Madrid’s crunch game at home to Ajax in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday.
Bale had started the defeat to Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday but the Welshman departed to whistles in the second half and was dropped for the return against Ajax, with Madrid 2-1 ahead from the first leg.
Isco came on against Barca but was not even named on the bench while Marcelo was again named as a substitute, Sergio Reguilon preferred at left-back.
Ajax started with an unchanged side from the opening leg, with Frenkie de Jong set to play at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time. De Jong will join Barcelona in the summer.
Real Madrid (4-3-3)
Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Nacho, Sergio Reguilon; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric; Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema (capt), Vinicius Junior
Coach: Santiago Solari (ARG)
Andre Onana; Noussair Mazraoui, Matthijs de Ligt (capt), Daley Blind, Nicolas Tagliafico; Lasse Schone, Donny van de Beek, Frenkie de Jong, Hakim Ziyech, David Neres; Dusan Tadic
Coach: Erik ten Hag (NED)
Reus, Goetze, Alcacer start as Dortmund target Spurs comeback
In the day’s other game, and with his side needing to score at least three goals, Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre thrust Marco Reus, Mario Goetze and Paco Alcacer all into Tuesday’s line-up against Tottenham Hotspur.
Having lost their Champions League last 16, first leg at Wembley 3-0, Favre threw caution to the wind for the return at Signal Iduna Park.
For the first time this season, both Germany forward Mario Goetze and Spanish striker Paco Alcacer, normally used off the bench, started alongside playmaker and captain Marco Reus, back after missing the first leg with a thigh injury.
With Thomas Delaney on the bench, Axel Witsel is Dortmund’s sole defensive midfielder up against Spurs’ midfield duo of Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko.
Achraf Hakimi, who made a mistake in the first leg and again in Friday’s 2-1 Bundesliga defeat at Augsburg drops to Dortmund’s bench with Marius Wolf taking his place at right-back.
Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino has stuck to a three-man defence that caused Dortmund problems in London, while England striker Harry Kane partners Son Heung-min up front.
Starting line-ups for the Champions League last 16, second leg between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday (kick-off 2000 GMT):
Borussia Dortmund (4-3-3)
Roman Burki; Abdou Diallo, Julian Weigl, Manuel Akanji, Marius Wolf; Mario Goezte, Axel Witsel, Marco Reus (capt); Raphael Guerreiro, Paco Alcacer, Jadon Sancho
Coach: Lucien Favre (SUI)
Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-1-2)
Hugo Lloris (capt); Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez, Jan Vertonghen; Serge Aurier, Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, Ben Davies; Christian Eriksen; Harry Kane, Son Heung-min
Coach: Mauricio Pochettino (ARG)
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)