Champions League debutants Malaga will hold no fear when hosting previous winners Borussia Dortmund at La Rosaleda this evening. The Spaniards’ incredible first run in Europe’s elite competition has impressed fans and pundits alike with Manuel Pellegrini’s men having already beaten some of the continent’s biggest names, including former champions AC Milan and Porto.
For the visitors and enigmatic coach Jurgen Klopp, the Champions League is their last chance of capturing any silverware in 2012/13. Having been knocked out of Germany’s domestic cup competition by Bayern Munich back in February, they also trail Jupp Heynckes’ side by a mammoth 20 points in the race for the Bundesliga title.
Klopp will be hugely focused on taking Dortmund to the final at Wembley in May, as failure to win a trophy could provoke a player exodus at Westfalenstadion. Several players have been the subject of sustained transfer speculation this season, including promising attacking midfielder Mario Gotze and the established Polish trio of Lukasz Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski.
Malaga and Borussia Dortmund have never met in competitive action.
Borussia Dortmund’s only previous win in Spain came in 1997, when they beat Atletico Madrid on their way to winning the Champions League for the first and only time.
Tonight will be the first occasion that Malaga have faced German opposition in European competition.
If Malaga were to triumph over two legs, it will not be the first time that Pellegrini has led a team to the Champions League semi-finals in their debut season. He also took Spanish club Villarreal to the final four in 2005/06.
Malaga have been awarded 34 corners in this season’s Champions League, fewer than any other club remaining in the competition.
Malaga to win: 3.7
Borussia Dortmund to win: 2.22
TV: Live on Sky Sports 4 at 7.45pm, highlights on Sky Sports 1 at 12.00am.
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