09/04/13 – Borussia Dortmund vs Malaga (Champions League Quarter Final)

Borussia Dortmund vs MalagaBorussia 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)

03/04/13 – Malaga vs Borussia Dortmund (Champions League Quarter Final)

Malaga vs Borussia DortmundMalaga 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)

19/02/13 – Porto vs Malaga (Champions League Last 16)

Porto vs MalagaPorto’s direct 4-1-2-3 system comes up against Malaga’s compact 4-2-3-1. Vitor Pereira has no selection concerns so can field his first choice XI. The return of Julio Baptista gives Manuel Pellegrini a dilemma – Isco was excellent as a central playmaker in the Champions League Group Stage, but Baptista’s inclusion may see the Spaniard moved out to the left wing.

This should be a style clash. Porto have played with verticality and attacking width for a decade, whereas Pellegrini has rebuilt Malaga around ball retention and patient build-up… (Read more)