Lars Ricken is sceptical about Borussia Dortmund's chances of progressing from Group D of the Champions League, but hopes his side can finally get the better of Real Madrid this season.
The Bundesliga holder was drawn against its Spanish equivalent, plus Manchester City and Ajax in the so-called 'group of death' on Thursday afternoon in Monaco.
Dortmund's only success in the competition came in 1997, when it defeated Juventus 3-1 in Munich. Ricken, one of the goalscorers that day, spoke to Goal.com about Dortmund's aspirations of reaching the knockout stages.
"This is a hammer-group, it could not be tougher for Dortmund," he said. "We need not talk about Real Madrid. Manchester City have been upgraded in recent years and Ajax are also a top team."
Jurgen Klopp's side finished bottom of its Champions League group last season, which consisted of Arsenal, Marseille and Olympiacos, and Ricken believes that the task is even harder this time around.
"It is even more difficult than in the previous season. But there is no whining in Dortmund."
The former Dortmund midfielder did not taste success against Blancos but is confident that his side can spring an upset against Jose Mourinho's men.
"I cannot remember a great game against Real Madrid," he reminisced. "For example, the dramatic 1998 [Champions League] semifinal, and in 2003, we suffered against Madrid. Therefore Dortmund has a score to settle with Madrid."
Current Dortmund captain Matt Hummels was thrilled by the draw, claiming that it was "an awesome group", but Ricken is more pessimistic about the German champions' chances.
"It is extremely difficult to reach the knockout stage," he concluded.
Die Schwarzgelben host Ajax in their opening European match on Sept. 18.
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