Champions League group stage recap: Real Madrid hit their stride
Tuesday, 15 February 2022
Jolted into life by a shock defeat at home to Sheriff, Real Madrid once again look to be on a roll as they enter the UEFA Champions League knockout stage.
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Real Madrid did not have it all their own way in UEFA Champions League Group D – their Matchday 2 loss to Sheriff caused a stir – but two wins over Inter and an increasingly potent attack have left them well placed to once again mount a challenge heading into the knockout stage.
Campaign so far
Group D winners: W5 D0 L1 F14 A3
Top scorer: Karim Benzema (5)
15/09: Inter 0-1 Real Madrid (Rodrygo 89)
28/09: Real Madrid 1-2 Sheriff (Benzema 65pen; Yakhshiboev 25, Thill 90)
19/10: Shakhtar 0-5 Real Madrid (Kryvtsov 37og, Vinícius Júnior 51 56, Rodrygo 65, Benzema 90+1)
03/11: Real Madrid 2-1 Shakhtar (Benzema 14 61; Fernando 39)
24/11: Sheriff 0-3 Real Madrid (Alaba 30, Kroos 45+1, Benzema 55)
07/12: Real Madrid 2-0 Inter (Kroos 17, Asensio 79)
Campaign in ten words: Looking ominously back to their best after a shaky start.
UEFA.com reporter's view
Madrid's strong form on the road – three wins, nine goals scored, none conceded – underpinned their progress. With Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior delivering the goods, the Merengues could afford a surprise stumble at home to debutants Sheriff. Madrid are where they want to be, and from here on they are always a threat.
What we've learned
Real Madrid often save their best for the Champions League, and this season has been no exception – the surprise loss to Sheriff aside. Vinícius Júnior looks to have come of age at the Bernabéu, while Benzema has rolled back the years to show he is one of the continent's premier strikers.
Fantasy star performers
Éder Militão – 39 points
David Alaba – 38 points
Karim Benzema – 37 points
In: Peter*, Diego Piñeiro*
*Registered to List B.
Clubs could register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.
- Madrid have never failed to make it through the group stage of the Champions League in 26 attempts.
- Benzema became the first player to score in 17 successive Champions League seasons when he struck on Matchday 2 (Lionel Messi joined him later that night).
- Benzema's opener on Matchday 4 was Real Madrid's 1,000th European Cup goal – they are the first team to reach this milestone.