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‘Jude Bellingham vs Union Berlin’ is going to get a lot of airplay from those who have followed the Englishman’s career with zeal, from his humble roots in Birmingham to the bright lights of the Bernabeu.
Tonight, his feelgood story was blessed with another divine chapter, with Real’s 103m-euro man netting a dramatic winner in stoppage time, to help them pick up a slender 1-0 win over
Germany’s latest upstarts in their UEFA Champions League opener on Wednesday evening. That took the 20-year-old’s goal tally to six already in as many games, contributing in no small part to Real’s perfect start to 2023/24.
With that being said, Jude – like the rest of his teammates – wasn’t exactly at his devious best in the UCL opener, and Carlo Ancelotti’s side might’ve learnt some lessons from the result.
Jude Bellingham vs Union Berlin – the not so impressive stats
Despite being amongst the most prominent names in the predicted lineup, and having the experience of playing against many Bundesliga sides in the past (as part of Borussia Dortmund), Bellingham was not exactly able to torment Union as much as he would have hoped to. While the Englishman did create three chances, they weren’t converted or that threatening enough to leave Union Berlin panting.
He had only one out of three shot attempts on target, which was the goal he scored in stoppage time. There was an element of luck in the 20-year-old’s goal as well, as Fede Valverde’s powerful shot took a wicked deflection off an opposition player before falling straight in the path of Bellingham a few inches away from the goal-line.
He was allowed to score a simple tap-in without any pressure, probably one of the easiest goals he’ll score in the Champions League this season. His other attempts were blazed well off-target and the 20-year-old wasn’t able to dominate the bullish German side either, winning only 3/11 ground duels all game long.
Can Real Madrid keep relying on Bellingham?
Regardless of the poor night that preceded his matchwinner, Bellingham is absolutely having one of the best goal-scoring seasons of his career with six goals in as many matches. In comparison, he scored 14 goals in 42 appearances all competitions for Dortmund last season. It’s safe to assume that the 20-year-old is on course to at least surpass his goal feat from the previous campaign.
However, Real Madrid might want to be wary of becoming overly dependent on the English midfielder.
Bellingham is being allowed a lot of freedom in his current role at Real Madrid, but he has now a huge target on his back with his electric start to the season. It must be remembered that the 20-year-old is still a midfielder and his role is more to help his side control the possession and create chances. He is likely to be marked sharply by opposition midfielders going forward, giving him less freedom and restricting his scope for scoring goals.
So it’s probably high time that the Real Madrid forwards like Rodrygo and Joselu stepped up to finish off their chances, having missed quite a few against Union Berlin. Los Blancos will naturally be pleased to have Vinicius Jr back soon, knowing the Brazilian forward’s clinical goal-scoring capability, which will lower the goal dependency from Bellingham and give the Englishman more freedom to run the show and create chances than look to score them all the time.
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