Mats Hummels is finally fit enough to return to Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League starting XI at the expense of Felipe Santana. Elsewhere Sven Bender is likely to play ahead of Sebastian Kehl in what should be Jurgen Klopp’s first choice line-up.
A suspension to Alvaro Arbeloa will mean Jose Mourinho is in need of a full back: Sergio Ramos may move from centre back rather than Michael Essien coming in. Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain continue to tussle for the forward position, although the Frenchman’s weekend goal may give him the edge.
These sides met in the group stage, Dortmund winning 2-1 at home before earning a 2-2 draw in the Bernabeu with a mixture of intelligent defence and quick counter attacks… (Read more)
Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp will decide on the fitness of captain Jakub Blaszczykowski for the second leg against Malaga. The winger’s creativity has been missed in recent weeks, with Kevin Groβkreutz offering a more predictable threat. Should Blaszczykowski return to the side it would allow Marco Reus to switch back to his customary left-sided role from where he can cut infield onto his stronger right foot. Elsewhere Sven Bender is likely to replace Sebastian Kehl in midfield after a disappointing first leg performance, but Mats Hummels is still returning to full fitness.
Malaga are without the suspended Weligton in defence, so Diego Lugano will probably come in ahead of Oguchi Onyewu. Javier Saviola’s energetic display in the first leg should ensure he keeps his place in attack ahead of Roque Santa Cruz.
Dortmund will still be frustrated that they left Malaga without an away goal despite a dominating performance, so Manuel Pellegrini will know that an away goal will give the Spanish side a large advantage. He will be aware however that Dortmund were not at their best last week, and Klopp will hope that Bender and Blaszczykowski can add some fluency to the home side’s midfield. With no great tactical changes expected from the first leg (a preview of which can be found here), analysis will focus on what will be decisive second time around… (Read more)
Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini is likely to select his first choice side since Julio Baptista’s return from injury, with the Brazilan occupying a central advanced midfield role, with Isco moving to a left-sided position.
For Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp has introduced Nuri Sahin to the side and pushed Ilkay Gundogan into a more advanced position in recent weeks, but the on loan Turkish midfielder is cup-tied in Europe, suggesting Gundogan will return to a deeper role and Kevin Groβkreutz will complete the attacking trio behind Robert Lewandowski. Mats Hummels continues to miss out as he recovers from injury, so Felipe Santana will carry on partnering Neven Subotic in defence.
Malaga continue to be a surprise package in both La Liga and Europe, whereas Dortmund are now accepted as one of the continent’s elite sides, and have assumed the pressure and expectation that this brings… (Read more)
Jens Koller will be delighted to see Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scoring again – the Dutch striker got his first goal since November against Wolfsburg last weekend. Huntelaar is vital to Schalke’s single striker system, especially given the adjustments required in the attacking midfield roles following Lewis Holtby’s January departure. The home side could well be full strength, although that depends on the fitness of three first choice defenders Christian Fuchs, Joel Matip and Atsuto Uchida. Fuchs and Uchida missed the Wolfsburg game but have returned to training, whilst Matip has been out with flu.
Borussia Dortmund also have few concerns, and should be boosted by their midweek Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk. Mats Hummels again missed the game through injury, despite featuring as a substitute in Dortmund’s last Bundesliga match, so it is likely that Felipe Santana will continue to deputise.
Dortmund cannot catch Bayern Munich in 1st place, but will want to stay 2nd ahead of Bayer Leverkusen. Meanwhile Schalke will hope their dreadful midseason run, which saw them slip out of the European places, has ended with two successive victories and a goal for Huntelaar. They find themselves in 6th but are only two points away from 4th and the final Champions league place… (Read more)
With Borussia Dortmund’s late equaliser in the Ukraine securing a 2-2 draw, the German champions will want to complete victory at home in front of their fanatical supporters.
Dortmund’s goalscorer Mats Hummels faces a fight to be fit, so Felipe Santana once again finds himself on standby to partner Neven Subotic at centre back. Ilkay Gundogan should return having missed the first leg through injury, with Sven Bender and Sebastian Kehl in contention to partner him in midfield. Jurgen Klopp has tweaked his system recently, playing two in attack against Hannover at the weekend and a three man midfield against Bayern Munich in the German Cup, but Dortmund are likely to return to their familiar 4-2-3-1 shape.
For Shakhtar Donetsk, Mircea Lucescu welcomes back Olexandr Kucher from suspension to play alongside Yaroslav Rakitskiy at centre back. Douglas Costa’s goal in the first leg may also see him fill the left wing role in place of Taison.
Dortmund will expect to progress considering their away goal advantage, but Shakhtar remain dangerous opponents… (Read more)
Two sides that use a 4-2-3-1 variation but interpret the system in different ways. Shakhtar Donetsk will build attacks centrally through their trio of advanced midfielders while visitors Borussia Dortmund operate with greater width. Both sides enjoy possession but are extremely effective at transitions, so this is likely to be a game decided by which team counter attacks more efficiently.
Mircea Lucescu’s Shakhtar are playing their first competitive game in 2013 following their winter break, in which they lost forward Willian to Anzhi Makhachkala. He will be replaced by either Ilsinho or Douglas Costa. Jurgen Klopp has no great selection problems with Neven Subotic expected to come back in for Felipe Santana in defence… (Read more)
Second hosts third in the Bundesliga. Borussia Dortmund have lost once away all season, whereas Bayer Leverkusen are unbeaten at home. This is a contest between one of the league’s most proactive sides – Dortmund – against one of its most reactive – Leverkusen. This will be marginally tested by Leverkusen being at home, but still expect Dortmund to monopolise possession and the home side to attack on the break. However the most intriguing aspect of the fixture will be whether joint managers Sami Hyypia and Sascha Lewandowski will stick with Leverkusen’s usual 4-3-3 system, or switch to the 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1 formation that they used against Dortmund earlier in the season. Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund will play in their usual way, so the pattern of the game will depend on Leverkusen’s choice of system… (Read more)