Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Malaga – Incredible finish far too cruel on Pellegrini.

Starting XI’s

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.

football formations

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.

football formations

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.

Santana-Subotic leg 1

Subo leg 2

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.

Passes to Gundogan in leg 1

Gundo 2

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.

gundo pass

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.

dort goals

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.

Malaga 0-0 Borussia Dortmund – Klopp’s men fail to score for just the third time in their last 52 matches.

Starting XI’s

Manuel Pellegrini had a fully fit Malaga squad to choose from and went with the same XI in a 4-2-3-1 shape that overturned Porto in the second leg of the last 16.

football formations

Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp picked an expected XI with Jakub Blaszczykowski and Mats Hummels both ruled out through injury.

football formations


  • While most of the Spanish press focused on Barcelona and Real Madrid’s plights in the Champions League this week, those that covered Malaga’s listened to boss Pellegrini all week talk about the importance of not conceding an away goal. The 59-year-old may have not got a performance he dreamed of but he still ultimately got just what he wanted.
  • Dortmund were excellent in every facet aside from finishing. Jurgen Klopp’s men failed to score for just the third time this season but this had little to do with Malaga’s resistance and a lot more to their wastefulness in front of goal.

dortmund 1

  • Robert Lewandowski probably missed the game’s best chance just two minutes into the second half when Gotze carved open the Malaga defence and laid a cross on a plate for the Pole, only to see him badly miskick his shot.
  • With Blaszczykowski injured, Reus was deployed on the right and although the German star had a decent game with his movement and defensive responsibilities he, like his fellow forwards, struggled finding his team-mates in key moments. Many times this season Reus and Gotze have had a special chemistry together, often knowing where one another is without looking, but today they struggled in that department, connecting only eight times together up until Reus was removed after 69 minutes.

dortmund 2

  • Blaszczykowski’s overall decisiveness and ability to run at the byline was missed but what Reus does offer on that side is some excellent off-the-ball movement, in particular with clever runs across the back four, staying onside and forcing full backs to go inside with him.
  • Malaga’s back four deserve credit, however, for improving as the game wore on. Weligton picked up an early booking and four times inside the opening 25 minutes the visitors got in behind them and were denied by the excellent Willy Caballaro in net. It would have been easy to panic, drop deeper and invite Dortmund to play in the space in between the lines but the home side’s back four stayed structured and consistent.
  • That being said, it is hard to not imagining Dortmund not scoring in another game if these two were forced to play nine more matches. Gotze alone could have had a hat-trick. He broke clean through on 14 minutes but hit a tame shot at Caballaro and midway through the second half had equally an excellent chance when he broke in between centre back and full back on the left only to pull the shot wide.
  • His chance had been created by the outstanding Ilkay Gundogan who was the game’s best player. With many other top class players at the club, it is hard for the 22-year-old to get the recognition he deserves but he was magnificent in this match. His distribution stats show how involved he was but only tell part of the story as the central midfielder put on a clinic with his movement and always being available as a key outlet for either his defenders or attackers.

Dortmund 3

  • Malaga now boast a very impressive record of 11 successive home matches in Europe in which they have not lost. They rarely looked like winning this match, Roman Weidenfeller’s excellent save on Isco was their best effort, but on one of the greatest nights in their history they will be thrilled to still be in this tie heading to the raucous Westfalenstadion on Tuesday night.
  • Dortmund will of course be massive favourites but Malaga will dream of getting a goal and not allowing more than one. Should Klopp’s men by as poor in front of goal as they were in Spain then a shock could be on the cards.