A magical night in store for Málaga, as players prepare to pull together for Pellegrini
La Liga Loca has a sneaky feeling. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a completely nonsensical, irrational feeling that flies in the face of all football logic - not unlike the concept of Riki scoring 12 league goals this season for Deportivo, in fact. The blog has the feeling MÃÂ¡laga are going to prevail in TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League quarter-final clash against Borussia Dortmund.
In theory, it should be a doozy for the home side, after a goalless draw in Spain and with the second leg being played out in front of 65,000 particularly noisy fans. Ã¢ÂÂThey will forgive us if we miss our first chance and they are behind us,Ã¢ÂÂ was the reminder from JÃÂ¼rgen Klopp on Monday, with the Dortmund boss warning that Ã¢ÂÂpatience is going to be the key.Ã¢ÂÂ
ThereÃ¢ÂÂs a whole host of other reasons to believe the Germans are sure-fire semi-finalists. Firstly, Dortmund are much, much better than MÃÂ¡laga, which LLL has been told is an important factor in football. Then thereÃ¢ÂÂs the reality that the visitors are without one half of a strong centre-back unit, with Weligton suspended.
But LLL has visions of MÃÂ¡laga getting an early goal - Julio Baptista bundling home from a corner - holding on for another 75 minutes before conceding an equaliser, then holding firm and scraping through on away goals. The dream then goes on to see MÃÂ¡laga beating Real Madrid 15-0 over two legs and Manuel Pellegrini giving Florentino PÃÂ©rez a cheeky little wave at the end of the ties, a salute to a figure who fired the Chilean after just a season at the Santiago BernabÃÂ©u.
At time of writing, MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs coach is set to arrive in Germany late, as his father sadly died shortly before the clubÃ¢ÂÂs league match against Real Sociedad on Saturday. The manager returned to Chile for the funeral but is making a swift turnaround to head back to Europe for TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs clash. Ã¢ÂÂI hope we reward him with a great game, he deserves it,Ã¢ÂÂ said MartÃÂn Demichelis. Ã¢ÂÂIn moments like this, the whole group felt the loss,Ã¢ÂÂ confessed JesÃÂºs GÃÂ¡mez, the only survivor from MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs second division days, which ended as recently as 2008.
There is no such tension ahead of Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs clash with Galatasaray. As JosÃÂ© Mourinho noted, if the Spanish side went out of the quarter-final tie in Istanbul, then the world would swallow the club up and everyone would have to remain in exile in Turkey for the rest of their football lives. Madrid have a 3-0 advantage from last weekÃ¢ÂÂs clash and have successfully passed through all 21 previous European knock-out ties with the matching scoreline.
WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more, only 6% of clashes in Europe with the same first leg have ever seen a swing in the other direction. And certainly not when the accommodating back four of Galatasaray is involved.
Predicting Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs march towards the semi-finals is not exactly bold. But the forecast of two Spanish clubs having terrific TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs certainly is. MÃÂ¡laga will be triumphant against Borussia Dortmund. ItÃ¢ÂÂs written in the stars.*
*Or they'll concede within 25 seconds and get hammered 6-0.