MálagaÃ¢ÂÂs magic match, BarçaÃ¢ÂÂs pricey Paris night and a shock in the Bernabéu
La Liga Liga has gone rogue. For too long, the blogÃ¢ÂÂs attempts at Champions League previews have generally seen MÃÂ¡laga squeezed in at the end of the update behind all things Real Madrid and Barcelona. Heck, the blog has even dedicated more time to Valencia, a team destined to go out at the last 16 stages every year for an eternity and a half.
But today's blog leads on MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs home clash with Borussia Dortmund, in what is going to be a seething, sweating stadium on SpainÃ¢ÂÂs south coast. LLL actually thinks MÃÂ¡laga have a chance against the German visitors, as blooming impressive as the Bundesliga champions may be. While MÃÂ¡laga are certainly the overachievers in the tournament, the Spanish side isn't filled with shirking wallflowers looking to wander about taking photographs of their 'big day out'.
While there are wee nippers in the team, such as Isco, MÃÂ¡laga are stuffed with warhorses like MartÃÂn Demichelis, JÃÂ©rÃÂ©my Toulalan, Javier Saviola, Roque Santa Cruz and JoaquÃÂn, who have 229 Champions League appearances between then. Indeed, the latter has played in the competition with three different Spanish teams and announced ahead of WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs game that Ã¢ÂÂyou have suffer whilst competing and enjoy it too". The the cheeky-grinned winger added: "If we play at our best level then we have a chance."
There is no word on whether MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs owner, Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, will be attending the game, or indeed whether anyone in Spain will be watching the clash, considering it is on at the same time as Real Madrid vs Galatasaray. Ã¢ÂÂMÃÂ¡laga folk know that the Real Madrid support will keep a little place in their white hearts to celebrate the goals of Ã¢ÂÂEuromÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂ on the BernabÃÂ©u scoreboards,Ã¢ÂÂ writes TomÃÂ¡s Roncero in AS. Bless.
In Spain, there is a joke that the people of Catalonia can be a touch tight when it comes to money. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs certainly that sense the morning after BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League clash in Paris, with both Mundo Deportivo and Sport leading on the theme that the result was very Ã¢ÂÂexpensiveÃ¢ÂÂ in the same way that buying a round of drinks then not having everybody buy you one in return, might be.
Ã¢ÂÂThe bill at the end of the game is very costly,Ã¢ÂÂ tutted Joan Vehils, complaining that he only had the soup and two beers. Ã¢ÂÂPSG are an inferior team to BarÃÂ§a but in the Champions League any error is expensive.Ã¢ÂÂ This is certainly the case for BarÃÂ§a who are now set to be without the sometimes delivering Leo Messi for three weeks and Javier Mascherano potentially for six weeks due to what looked like a messed up leg. Despite all this bad news for Barcelona , it was wonderful to see Tito Vilanova on the touchline again, and he gave his defence the same kind of stern looking over as someone returning from holiday to find the results of a house party in their abode.
In a shock development in Madrid, the pre-match build up to the visit of Galatasaray was all about JosÃÂ© Mourinho, after a long lecture and finger wag to the press about bias, no footballer being an automatic choice in any team and the collective being more important than the individual. The eyebrows of Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos - both dropped on the whim of their coach in the past - have yet to return to their normal positions after hearing that particular statement. Ã¢ÂÂHis performances can only be criticised by someone who is not impartial,Ã¢ÂÂ was the rebuke of Mourinho in regards to current Madrid goalkeeper, Diego LÃÂ³pez.
Ã¢ÂÂMourinho writes the rules at this Madrid, he writes them in chalk, to wipe them out when he wants and rewrite them after,Ã¢ÂÂ sighs AS editor Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o. As for the result of Wednesday's game, the only shock of the evening is likely to be related to the noise created by the reported influx of 15,000 Galatasaray fans to Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs home, creating something rarely witnessed in the Santiago BernabÃÂ©u - an atmosphere.