Hummels Was Missed & Other Things Learnt From Dortmund v Malaga
Dortmund Will Need To Secure A Positive Result In The First Leg
Especially if they're away from home in the semi final. In the first leg with Malaga, Dortmund may not have dominated possession - coming away from La Rosaleda with 49% compared to the Spanish sides' 51% - but the 20 shots overall compared to Los Boquerones' nine saw Jurgen Klopp's men deserving of the win, only to draw 0-0.
After a somewhat nervy start against their La Liga counterparts, prior to a period of dominance, Malaga took the initiative through Joaquin before Eliseu added a second for the visitors on the night and Dortmund will need to begin quickly, whomever they come up against in the final.
The Premier League Would Be Lucky To Have A Coach Like Pellegrini
Despite failing to become the first manager in Champions League history to take a debutant team to two semi finals, the first being Villarreal in 2006, Malaga head coach Manuel Pellegrini is unsurprisingly held in high regard by his peers and those involved within football.
The Chilean came close to entering the record books, but despite falling just short; interest is supposedly high in the 59-year-old. Mustered a then-record points total in in La Liga in 2010 with Real Madrid, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal have all been linked with a move to appoint Pellegrini at the end of the season, a factor that could become reality over the summer with Malaga banned from European competition next season.
One Imagines This Is How Wenger Wanted His Arsenal Side To Turn Out
The best thing about the current Dortmund side is the players involved. All coming through the youth team ranks or signed when young for a less than inflated price, allowing them to develop from teens into a collective unit to dominate domestically.
It worked for Klopp, who despite forfeiting the Bundesliga to Bayern Munich last weekend, has overseen his side grow into one of the finest in Europe. Playing aesthetically pleasing football and proving a success with the fans, it hints towards the plans of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who must only look on in envy at Dortmund reaping the rewards.
Dortmund Missed Hummels
As good as Felipe Santana and Neven Subotic have been, the lack of Mats Hummels in defence has been evident. The Germany international has been forced to the sidelines over recent weeks with injury and it's been telling for Dortmund.
The Bundesliga side have looked shakier than usual without the 24-year-old in the heart of the defence and against Malaga it was evident, especially in the opening exchanges and in the build up to Joaquin and Eliseu netting for the visitors. He may've come on with five minutes of the tie remaining, during which Dortmund secured their place in the semi finals, but the defensive solidity was compromised on numerous occasions on the night without Hummels alongside Subotic.
It's High Time Caballero Was Handed His First Argentina Cap
Beaten three times over both legs by Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Santana, Willy was continuously solid over the 180 minutes, regularly making himself big to deny the Dortmund frontline. Sexual innuendo aside, the Argentine has been a regular starter for Malaga since his emergency transfer to the club in 2011 and it comes as no real shock to fans.
During the 3-2 defeat to their German counterparts, Caballero was again in impressive form and his performance alone warranted a place fro him in the final four of the Champions League. It's criminal, in that case, to know that the 31-year-old has never been capped for Argentina. The goalkeeper picked up two U20 caps back in 2001, but has never been called up to the senior squad. Judging from last night's performance, however, it won't be long before he receives the call from Alejandro Sabella.