Real almost surely in semis
REAL Madrid's 3-0 drubbing of Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League has put them back on track, after two defeats in La Liga that dented their Spanish title chances, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Wednesday.
Goals from Gareth Bale and Isco and a record-equalling 14th for Cristiano Ronaldo in this season's competition virtually guaranteed Real a place in the last four, ahead of Tuesday's quarter-final second leg in Germany, and should restore confidence after domestic losses to Barcelona and Sevilla.
Real have slipped behind leaders Atletico Madrid and Barca into third in the standings with seven games left, but might still swing a rare treble as they are through to the King's Cup final against Barca on April 16.
"The reaction was good after the two defeats, although it's clear we have not forgotten them completely because we paid a heavy price," Ancelotti said at a news conference.
"We are not top of the league any more, but there is still time," added the Italian, who is in his first season in charge after taking over from Jose Mourinho.
"If we win all our matches, as I have said, at least we will win the Champions League and the King's Cup."
Real were the better side for the first half at the Bernabeu, though Dortmund knocked them out in the semi-finals of Europe's elite club competition last season.
With a two-goal cushion, they eased off in the second half, and the visitors squandered several chances to score either side of Ronaldo's 57th-minute strike.
Real's world footballer of the year scored their third goal, matching the record haul of 14 goals in a single season set by Barcelona's Lionel Messi in the Champions League (2011-12) and Brazilian Jose "Mazzola" Altafini in the European Cup (1962-63). And Ronaldo did it on his 100th appearance in the competition proper to boot.
Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp was left rueing his team's mistakes and missed chances. He said: "We should never have conceded any of the goals tonight.
"We got to where we wanted to be in their penalty area, but we couldn't put the ball in the net.
"In all probability, Real will be in the semi-finals, but there is still one more match to play. It's my job to hope for things. The only thing I can say is, we'll be there."
Ancelotti too warned his team against complacency in the second leg, saying: "They will try everything to turn the tie around. We have to be on our guard and play like we did tonight. If we play the same way, we can get to the semi-finals.
"They are preparing a trap for the second leg, and we have to be clever and avoid it."