For both sides, it seems everything is on hold until the matter of who makes it into the semifinals is resolved. Dortmund have been out of the running in the Bundesliga for quite some time, focusing their attention on the home matches in the Champions League. For Malaga, who are finally being bit by that bug of having a short squad, things have been slipping on all fronts.
Just taking a look at Dortmund’s record this season in the Champions League is enough to ping them as the favorites for this match – They’ve won all of their home matches, including a terrific first half in the 3-0 win over Shakhtar during the knockout stage second leg. This is pretty much the same situation as they were in then, only not having that away goals advantage in the back of their minds, although it doesn’t really matter.
Dortmund play the same way regardless of the opposition unless it’s Bayern, which usually calls for certain adjustments. Against Malaga? They’re hoping the relentless work rate and pace of the entire team, with Gundogan and Bender pushing forward a lot more often than they did in the first leg, should be enough to cancel out the Malaga midfield while giving Mario Gotze and Marco Reus enough opportunities to score, hopefully early as possible.
For the Spanish side, it’s been a rough stretch. They had their chances in the first leg by Dortmund were the better side, like they’ve been in every single Champions League match they’ve had this season. Toulalan and Camacho aren’t good enough to hold Dortmund back, which forces Isco and others to do a lot more defensive work than they’d like to. Add that to the fact that Malaga have won only won once in their last six league matches, and you get a picture of a short squad that’s finally stopped playing above its potential.
Prediction – Malaga are a strong home side, but hardly managed to cross the halfway line in their visit to Porto, coming out with a minimal 1-0 loss. It’s going to be even harder against Dortmund, looking like their last stop on an impressive Champions League debut run.