By DAN KARELL
Real Madrid could make it to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the third successive season with a positive result against Galatasaray in Istanbul on Tuesday evening.
The Spanish club won the first-leg last Wednesday by a scoreline of 3-0, putting them in cruise control ahead of the second leg. Both teams will be missing key players, but it may not matter as the three goal deficit may be too much for Didier Drogba and co. to recover.
Jose Mourinho brings with him a perfect record in the Champions League quarter-final rounds, winning while at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and the last two years at Real Madrid.
Borussia Dortmund needed a second-half comeback against 16th-placed Augsburg on Saturday and despite the win, lost the Bundesliga title to Bayern Munich. They’ll be looking to take out some anger when Málaga comes to town for their second-leg match.
The two sides played to a goal-less draw last Wednesday in Spain, and Málaga have had a torrid weekend. First their flight to Sociedad was struck by lightning three times and was forced to land in nearby Bilbao. Soon after their 4-2 loss to Real Sociedad, manager Manuel Pellegrini found out his father had passed away, taking the first flight out back to his native Chile to grieve with his family.
Pellegrini said he will return to the sidelines for the match against Dortmund, making for a very emotional quarterfinal match.
Here is a closer look at today’s Champions League quarterfinal matches:
GALATASARAY vs. REAL MADRID
2:45pm, Fox Soccer Channel
Players to Watch: GALATASARAY – Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder, Hamit Altintop, Felipe Melo; REAL MADRID – Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric.
Quick Kicks: Iker Casillas is once again available to play against Galatasaray, but will likely take a place on the bench again as Diego Lopez has continued to hold down the starting job for Real Madrid. Real will be without Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos to suspension, as well as Kaka to a leg injury. Galatasaray will have to overcome the loss of Burak Yilmaz, who is suspended for the match in Istanbul, if they want to continue in the competition. Starting center back Dany Nounkeu will also miss out to suspension.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND VS. MÁLAGA
2:45pm, MSG+, Fox Soccer Plus
Players to Watch: BORUSSIA DORTMUND – Robert Lewandowski, Mario Götze, Marco Reus, Ilkay Gündogan; MÁLAGA – Isco, Julio Baptista, Joaquin, Ignacio Camacho.
Quick Kicks: Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp was happy to announce that Mats Hummels and Kuba Błaszczykowski are available for selection, having both missed significant time the last couple of months. Marco Reus and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller were among seven starters rested last Saturday, but were both deemed fit to play on Tuesday. Robert Lewandowski has scored in ten straight Bundesliga matches, raising his total to 21 goals in league play. Málaga will be boosted by the return of manager Manuel Pellegrini from Chile, as well as winger Eliseu returning to training on Sunday. He’ll likely be available as a substitute, but the side will be without starters Manuel Iturra and Weligton due to suspension.
What do you make of Tuesday’s matches? Do you believe Mourinho should be worried in Instanbul? Who do you see winning in Dortmund?
Share your thoughts below.