Carlo Ancelotti content with Real Madrid victory over Union Berlin

In a nail-biting UEFA Champions League opener, Real Madrid displayed their tenacity as they secured a dramatic 1-0 victory over Bundesliga side Union Berlin.

The record European champions, despite a staggering 32 attempts at goal throughout the match, found themselves relying on Jude Bellingham’s 94th-minute strike to clinch the win.

Bellingham’s knack for last-minute heroics was on full display once again, as he replicated his feat from a mere three games ago when he netted a crucial goal in the 95th minute against Getafe in La Liga.

Real Madrid’s seasoned manager, Carlo Ancelotti, weighed in on various aspects of the game, offering insights into the team’s performance, tactical adjustments, and standout players.

“The match was planned like this. It was complicated, with a lot of control and Union Berlin defended very well in a low block. They did not leave us any space between the lines. We were very good in recovering after a loss and in the dead ball,” Ancelotti remarked.

He acknowledged that Real Madrid’s patience paid off, stating, “The idea was to be patient and we have been too patient. They are matches like that, which can be classified as traps. We have the memory of the game vs Sheriff. In this type of match, it is worthwhile to avoid cons.”

Ancelotti also praised the defensive prowess of Antonio Rudiger, emphasizing that the team’s solidity at the back prevented them from suffering in the game.

One key turning point was Ancelotti’s tactical adjustments during the second half, as he introduced two changes around the hour mark. This decision yielded positive results, as Ancelotti explained, “We fixed some things at half-time. The second half is better for us because the opponent puts less pressure compared to the first.”

Speaking about Bellingham’s impact, Ancelotti lauded the midfielder’s ability to score crucial goals, attributing it to both quality and intelligence. He quipped, “He has this quality and he is taking advantage of it. I have not challenged anyone for goals.”

Regarding the overall competitiveness of his squad, Ancelotti remained confident, stating, “What I think today is what I thought before starting the competition. We have a competitive squad to fight for all competitions.”

Ancelotti also highlighted the contributions of Joselu, who has quickly settled into the Real Madrid setup, and Rodrygo, despite the challenges of adapting to tighter spaces in recent games.

In terms of injuries, star forward Vinicius Jr. was notably absent, but Ancelotti offered some hope to fans, saying, “Vinicius will be back next Wednesday. Let’s see if it makes it to Sunday.”

Ancelotti stressed the value of having experienced midfielders like Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the squad, emphasizing their ability to contribute whether starting or coming off the bench. He emphasized, “Each one can contribute, whether at the beginning or in the second part.”

Speaking about Brahim Diaz, Ancelotti recognized his positive contributions despite limited playing time, expressing the desire to give him more opportunities.

As for Real Madrid’s status as favorites to win the UEFA Champions League, Ancelotti remained pragmatic, stating, “Saying that we are favourites doesn’t contribute anything. In every game, you have to fight and fight. Better to think about other things.”

In a match that showcased their resilience and ability to seize victory in the dying moments, Real Madrid made a strong statement in their pursuit of European glory.