Borussia Dortmund has history on its side against Malaga
Borussia Dortmund is counting on history to repeat itself when it welcomes Malaga for the return leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Dortmund, the only unbeaten side left in the competition, has progressed after each of its previous three scoreless away draws in the first leg of UEFA competitions, and is confident of finishing the job at its Westfalen Stadium, where it has won all its games this season.
However, Dortmund missed a host of chances to seize an advantage in Spain last Wednesday and should be wary of the threat posed by surprise package Malaga's blend of youth and experience.
"Everything is ready for a good game, including our opponent,'' said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp, who called on his players to show patience and not let missed opportunities lead to panic.
"We need to stay calm in certain situations. We must be ready to shoot wide of goal.''
Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender said 0-0 was "a dangerous starting position. We shouldn't start out stupidly and be caught out on a counterattack like we were on Saturday.''
On Saturday, Dortmund came from a goal down to beat Augsburg 4-2 in the Bundesliga, but it was a vastly altered side from the one that played in Malaga, with Klopp making seven changes to his team.
Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, defender Lukasz Piszczek, midfielders Sebastian Kehl, Ilkay Guendogan, Marco Reus and Mario Goetze, as well as Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski were all rested.
Goetze eventually came off the bench to set up two goals, while Lewandowski also came on to take his league tally to 21 by scoring for the 10th consecutive game.
"Between two not so unimportant games in the Champions League it was important to show that we play football to win,'' Klopp said. "The team passed the character test.''
Weidenfeller and Reus were left out of the squad with back problems and an abdominal muscle strain, respectively, but took full part in Monday's training session.
Defender Mats Hummels and Polish midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski could also feature after recovering from an ankle injury and groin strain, respectively.
"It looks quite good at the moment, they've all travelled with the squad to the hotel,'' Klopp said Monday evening.
Malaga has bigger problems.
The visitors will be without two key parts of its defense, with both center back Weligton and holding midfielder Manuel Iturra suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Coach Manuel Pellegrini flew home to Chile for his father's funeral after his weakened side lost 4-2 at San Sebastian on Saturday. With the defeat, Malaga lost ground on the Basque club now four points clear in fourth.
Media reports said Malaga's airplane was struck by lightning on the way to San Sebastian and forced to make an emergency landing, with the team boarding a bus from Bilbao the rest of the way.
Pellegrini did not attend Monday's press conference, but Martin Demichelis, who will anchor Malaga's backline, said the Chilean will be with the side on Tuesday.
"We'd like to win this one for him. We're all sad,'' Demichelis said. "First our coach didn't tell us about his father passing away, that shows his greatness. We now have offered him our condolences . we'll try everything to go through for him.''
Demichelis is familiar with Dortmund from his time at Bayern Munich.
"I know what an atmosphere they have here, but that shouldn't faze us. The first leg result was surely not a bad one for us. Those who think Dortmund are almost through already are mistaken,'' the Argentine said.
Malaga had goalkeeper Willy Caballero to thank for an inspired performance against Dortmund to keep the game scoreless at La Rosaleda in the first ever meeting between the sides.
The Spaniards will need Caballero to be at his best again, and will look to key players like veterans Joaquin Sanchez, Jeremy Toulalan, and Julio Baptista, as well as exciting midfielder Francisco "Isco'' Alarcon to keep alive their dream of reaching the Champions League semifinals in their competition debut.
Pellegrini previously led another Spanish side, Villarreal, to the semifinals on the side's debut in 2006.
"We are going in with a good result from the first leg,'' said striker Roque Santa Cruz, another former Bayern player in Malaga's ranks. "Dortmund had always scored away and the draw is very good. We can score there and get the result that will send us through. We know them better now.''
Dortmund, which conceded its Bundesliga title to Bayern on Saturday, will be determined to answer with a marker for the rest of the season.
The last time Dortmund surrendered back-to-back titles to Bayern was in 1997, when it atoned by winning the Champions League.
"We have to do everything we did in the away game,'' said Dortmund managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke said. "Only every so often we need to put the ball in.''