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Real Madrid

Real Madrid

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos says he and his teammates must “take a good look in the mirror” following their latest disappointing display at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Spanish champions lost 1-0 at home to Real Betis in La Liga on Wednesday to fall seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona just five games into the season.

Madrid, who also drew 2-2 at home with Valencia and 1-1 with Levante, have yet to win in La Liga in front of their own fans this season.

“This is the reality and nothing changes that,” Ramos told Onda Cero. “It’s a bad start, a worrying one, alarming to start like this at home.”

Madrid had not lost at the Bernabeu to Betis since October 1998 before Wednesday’s result.

Ramos added: “We haven’t won against rivals that in the past we would have beaten. We have to take a good look in the mirror and know that we must improve what we are doing, especially at home.

“We are the same players that won titles [La Liga and Champions League] a few months ago and we just have to believe in ourselves and be united. We have a good squad, we need to believe in ourselves. We are going to come out of this.”

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said after the game that his team are lacking the finishing touch when playing at home.

“We’re not playing badly, but struggling to score at home,” he said. “We had chances but could not convert. If we score that first one then the game is ours. We’re scoring more goals away from home and playing better. We need to change things at home, for sure.”

Madrid had Cristiano Ronaldo back on Wednesday after a five-match domestic ban and had a chance to set a new world record of scoring in 74 consecutive games.

They created 27 chances, seven of which were on target, yet they were unable to find a way past Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan.

“Hopefully it’s just a case of just missing the target and nothing else,” Ramos said. “The ball didn’t want to go in. We generated chances and perhaps in another game we would have won by a big margin.

“This is just a chapter that we have to turn but the book is a long one and we need to look ahead.”

Madrid play away at Alaves on Saturday in La Liga and return to the Bernabeu on Oct. 1 when they host Espanyol.

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Champions League holders Real Madrid will face Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham in a difficult group following the draw ceremony in Monaco on Thursday.

Barcelona did not get an easy pass, either, as they were drawn against Juventus, Olympiakos and Sporting CP in Group D.

Aside from Spurs, English teams received slightly easier draws, with Chelsea’s matchup with Atletico Madrid among the more challenging matchups, while Liverpool will face Sevilla.

Manchester United will face Benfica, FC Basel and CSKA Moscow in Group A, while Manchester City get Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli and Feyenoord in Group F.

Teams were drawn into eight groups of four. Clubs from the same national association — as well as Russian and Ukrainian clubs — could not be drawn together. The first group games will be played on Sept. 12-13.

Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, FC Basel, CSKA Moscow.

Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic

Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, FK Qarabag

Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting CP

Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, NK Maribor

Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord

Group G: Monaco, FC Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig

Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL Nicosia

Dortmund finished top of their group above Madrid last year, but new coach Peter Bosz still said Real were the most difficult challenge his side could have been drawn against in Group H.

“Real Madrid are the first team that could defend the Champions League title,” he said after the draw. “I also saw their [recent Super Cup] matches against Barcelona, and I have to say: That is the absolute top level in football right now.

“For me, it’ll be the first time at the Bernabeu, though for most BVB fans it will be a well-known feeling. Against Tottenham, a very strong team, I already played successfully with Feyenoord. And Nicosia rounds off an overall tough group. We’re accepting the challenge.”

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told Sky Germany that the club would look to the experience of finishing at the top of an equally tough group in 2012, when BVB went unbeaten against Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City before reaching the final.

“No doubt about it. This is the most difficult group,” he said. “But we’ve had that in 2012. We got through a group with Real and Manchester City. Heroes are born in those groups. Sure, we always get Real, and we played Tottenham in Europa League. But we can’t pick the teams.”

Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno shrugged off the notion that his club were the favourites to advance, saying “we’ll have to be at our best in order to qualify.”

“There’re a lot of teams that start today with that [favourites] tag,” he said. “We’re the champions from the last two seasons, we have a great team and a winning spirit. But this competition takes you to the limit in all aspects.

“It depends on a lot of factors and we must think about making it through the group stage. Hopefully we’re in the draw for the last 16 as winners of our group.”

Tottenham will go up against their former stars Gareth Bale and Luka Modric when they host Real Madrid at Wembley this year, and Spurs forward Harry Kane called the matchups “a good draw.”

“You expect to play the best in Europe in the Champions League, and it’s exciting for us. We look forward to these games,” Kane said. “You want to test yourself against the best, and Real Madrid are the best at the moment.

“It will be interesting to see where we’re at and a great test for us against Borussia Dortmund and APOEL as well. I remember the game against Real Madrid at the Lane in 2011. I’m sure Wembley will be packed for the matches, and we can’t wait to get started.”