The victory against the arch-rivals Barcelona should have been a huge confidence-booster, which was expected to bring out the best from Real Madrid in Germany against Borussia Monchengladbach, but as a matter of fact, a stoppage-time finish was needed to save the face and stay alive in the competition.

Gladbach toyed with Real Madrid

Gladbach never left spaces like Barcelona during the transitions and meanwhile, their transitions even until the last few minutes of the game were absolutely rapid, they were compact and hard to play through at the back and pressed the Los Blancos to win the ball back higher up the pitch.

An error from Toni Kroos allowed the hosts an attack in which Marcus Thuram profited from some sloppy marking to score the opener, and the Frenchman netted a tap-in shortly before the hour mark to leave Madrid reeling.

Kroos responded with a 25-yard curling shot that stung the palms of Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who pushed it around the post.

But 5 minutes later the hosts stormed ahead when Alassane Plea spotted the sloppy defending of Los Blancos who left Thuram unmarked advancing into the penalty area and passed the ball that he met with a stunning first-time finish into the top corner of the net, leaving Thibaut Courtois stunned!

The nightmares of the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium revisited and Real Madrid, the best team in the history of Champions League, were left pondering about their plans and started to script a comeback.

The comeback of Real Madrid

Casemiro headed a Kroos corner wide early in the second half as Madrid rallied, and Vinicius Junior ballooned over the crossbar from 12 yards when Federico Valverde played him in.

But the Los Blancos were shaky at the back – Plea received the ball unmarked in the box and when his shot was only parried by Courtois, Thuram tucked the rebound home from close range.

Courtois then denied Plea one-on-one as Madrid threatened to lose all control – it was one hell of a save from Courtois, who kept Madrid alive. Otherwise, they would have been down 3-0.

Time was running out and the Los Blancos were undone by the attacking intent of the hosts until Benzema found the net with an overhead kick from a Casemiro header to set up a tense finish in the 87th-minute!

Three minutes into added time, Luca Modric’s looping cross was headed down by Sergio Ramos, and Casemiro netted the equalizer from six yards out.

Marco Rose is paying back the faith invested in him

Credit must be given to Monchengladbach for the way they played.

Arguably, they were the better side at Borussia Park and deserved full points, but were undone by the individual brilliance of Real Madrid rather than the collective efforts.

And their manager Marco Rose deserves the accolade.

Ever since the successful spell at RB Salzburg, Rose has been tipped as one of the most exciting coaches in Europe.

Rose two back to back titles with Salzburg and also got them to play slick, direct football, much to the delight of the fans.

There was a lot of expectation upon his move to Borussia Park, and so far, he has been satisfactory. Rose guided the Foals to a superb fourth-place finish last year. After a relatively shaky start this season, the 44-year-old was just a minute and a half away from taking all three points off the Los Blancos.

Still, it was a great display from his men, who suffocated Real Madrid.

What should Real Madrid do?

It was pretty surprising to see the way Real Madrid are struggling so early in the competition, in which they have always been regarded as the ultimate Kings.

Real Madrid rely mostly on attacking through the flanks and produce crosses so that the hit-man at the center can exploit it, sadly, the Madrid hit-men: Benzema and Jovic were more often well-isolated by the opponent defenders and Benzema also had to drop deep to aid the midfield.

Then the quality of crosses has not been good either.

No player in the squad has completed more than one successful cross from the open play.

When Real Madrid attack and throw more bodies up front, their shape changes to 2-3-5: The two center backs take the load and in transitions, most of the time, look very shaky. The three midfielders at the center of the park basically pass the ball horizontally until there is a shred of space available for a cross. Even if an opportunity for a cross arrives, the quality of the crosses and the quality of movement inside the box are neither good nor enough in quantitative measures.

The offensive play in the final third remains another problem for Real Madrid: The players in the center just don’t commit enough to outweigh the defenders and left spaces for the scorer.

Real continue to repeat the mistakes.

Not every time they can escape.