Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will have to fight for their semi-final spots

The ultimate goal...

The ultimate goal…

The draw for the quarterfinals in this year’s edition of the Champions League was conducted in Nyon, France last Friday. The fate of the remaining eight teams – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Malaga, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Galatasaray – was literally in the hands of Liverpool legend Steve McManaman, who conducted the draw. The first matches will be played out on Tuesday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 3. The second legs are scheduled for a week later.

In one of the quarterfinals, Spanish champion Real Madrid – another team McManaman used to play on – are considered strong favorites against Turkish counterpart Galatasaray. However, the Galatasaray squad includes the likes of Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneider and Burak Yilmaz, who will all constantly threaten the defensive line of nine-time cup holders Real . A big advantage for the Turkish side is that they will host the second leg of the tie, but against CR7, Özil and company that is often not a factor. Interestingly enough, the teams have met three times in history, with Galatasaray winning two of those games, including a 2-1 victory in the 2000 UEFA Super Cup match (Excuse the  bad quality!)

Real Madrid-Galatasaray: more of a game than people expect

Real Madrid-Galatasaray: Not one-sided as it seems

Another seemingly uneven matchup is Borussia Dortmund-Malaga, one in which the German champion is considered a clear favorite against the Spanish team, which is enjoying quite a ride in its debut season in the Champions League. Popular expectations are that Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Mario Götze will tear the Malaga defense apart, but many people underestimate the “old dogs” who make up that backline: Martín Demichelis (age 32, runner-up in the competition in 2010 with Bayern Munich); Weligton (33); and captain Jesús Gámez (27 years old, but with more than 250 senior appearances for Malaga). The experience of these players will play a crucial role in Malaga’s attempt to eliminate Borussia.

On the other end of the field, Malaga has more experience, in the face of forwards such as Julio Baptista, Javier Saviola, and Roque Santa Cruz. These three will be supported by Spanish wonder kid Isco and Eliseu, midfielders who have proven that they themselves know how to find the net. In fact, they are the team’s leading scorers with three goals each.

Although Borussia Dortmund has a squad which, in my opinion,  is capable to repeat the 1997 Champions League triumph, when the team beat Juventus 3-1 in the final, I don’t rule out an upset in this tie. In order to do this, though, Malaga players will have to survive the hell of Westfalenstadion, where more than 80 000 Borussia fans put in quite a show for opposing teams week in and week out.

Would you like to see an upset in any of those ties? Why?

Comments are welcome.





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