Jurgen Klopp made two changes to last week’s 0-0 tie in Spain, bringing back Sven Bender for club skipper Sebastian Kehl in midfield while Jakub Blaszczykowski was now fit to play on the right, pushing Marco Reus to the left and Kevin Grosskreutz to the bench.
Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini was forced into two changes, with Weligton and Manuel Iturra suspended, choosing Ignacio Camacho and Sergio Sanchez as their replacements while also making another key switch from last week’s first leg, bringing in Duda for Javier Saviola.
In the five days since drawing 0-0 in the first leg of this Champions League quarter final, Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini took his team to Real Sociedad, watched them concede three in the first half-an-hour, told them at full time his father had passed away, travelled to Chile to be by his side, flew back to Germany, arrived in Dortmund at 2pm today and then produced a tactical masterclass that looked set to knock Borussia Dortmund out of the tournament.
Then Marco Reus and Felipe Santana scored goals in injury time to finish off one of the wildest Champions League games you will ever see and continue Pellegrini’s week from hell.
When he eventually falls asleep tonight, wherever that may be, the Chilean, who was two minutes away from being the first man since Brian Clough in the 1970s to take two teams in their first attempt to the semi final of European football’s elite club competition, will hopefully rest peacefully knowing his team could not have been any better.
His use of Julio Baptista and Joaquin up top worked brilliantly. Malaga looked like a 4-4-2 drawn up but effectively they were a 4-2-4 with none of the front four seriously committing to a front position throughout the game. This confused Dortmund, whose centre-backs often were left alone to pass amongst themselves while waiting for an outlet to come deeper to be found. There was a remarkable difference between their distribution from leg one to leg two.
The brilliant Ilkay Gunogan had a magnificent first leg because he wasn’t pressed and was given far too much space and although he was excellent again in this game he didn’t get the time or space afforded to him in Spain because of the congested Malaga system. He also struggled to get as many passes from his centre backs (which is why they held on to the ball so well), being forced to come a lot deeper and split the centre backs to start many Dortmund attacks.
Despite his struggles linking up with the centre-backs, Gundogan again saved one of his best performances for the big stage. He finds space easily, is decent in the tackle for a technical player and can produce a brilliant pass in a flash. He treasured the ball like no other player in this tie and finished with an incredible pass ratio of 128/146 (88%) in two quarter finals in the Champions League. He was born in 1990, folks.
Much focus will righly be put on Dortmund’s incredible comeback but lost in that might be the work of Willy Caballero in Malaga’s net as the Argentine produced a couple of brilliant saves in the second half, particularly one on Mario Gotze whose quick 1-2 with Gundogan showcased the understanding and vision the Dortmund players have in attack.
The same could also be said for Dortmund’s opening goal, an equaliser to make it 1-1 on 39 minutes, when Gotze picked out Reus before the German Player of the Year backheeled a pass to Robert Lewandowski, who showed his outstanding predatory instincts to go around Caballero and finish off a sensational move.
The goal was cruel on Malaga who had deserved their lead, which came courtesy of Joaquin and again showed Pellegrini’s thinking behind dropping Javier Saviola. Baptista came deep, put through Isco who then laid it off for the Spanish winger to fire home on the left foot.
At 1-1 the game was very entertaining with Malaga sticking to a disciplined shape, not retreating too much, while Klopp’s team attacking at a rapid pace. In the 82nd minute it looked like the dark horses had booked their semi final ticket when they broke away and scored through substitute Eliseu, although he was marginally offside.
Then in injury time suddenly Dortmund found a way of doing something they couldn’t do for the entire 90 minutes.
Dortmund became the first team to score two goals in added time, whilst needing both those goals to win, since Manchester United in their 1999 CL final against Bayern Munich. Over the two legs, considering the amount of chances they created, it is hard to say they don’t deserve their place in the semi finals but this was very cruel on an excellent Malaga side.
Sleep well Manuel. You deserve it.