What a night it promises to be at the Westfalenstadion on Tuesday when Borussia Dortmund host Malaga in the Champions League quarter-final second leg and let’s be honest, for neutrals everywhere the great hope is that the Germans are going to keep their side of the bargain and make it a semi-final quartet to really get excited about.
With Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all extremely well positioned to make it through to the last four of the competition, there is an expectation and excitement among football fans that Jurgen Klopp’s side can make it a dream semi-final line up, with all four of the teams at the head of the betting making it through to make what would be a mouth-watering spectacle, no matter how the draw pans out.
But it’s not just that, because Dortmund have done so much to entertain us over the last couple of years with their terrific brand of football and their attack-at-all-costs mentality that they certainly deserve their moment of glory.
They might be well behind the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, but with two German titles under their belt over the last three years, Klopp has made so secret of his desire to succeed in the Champions League and having gone unbeaten in the competition this season, I do believe the tournament will be better for their involvement in the last four.
If you had given Klopp a home match with Malaga, fresh after a goalless draw in Spain, for a place in the last four before the season started he would have taken that scenario and then some, and it is difficult to imagine Dortmund not making the most of the situation.
All this is of not meant to be disrespectful to Malaga, who themselves have been a great credit to the Champions League this season.
Showing up the claim from Roberto Mancini that a team needs a few years in the tournament to perform well for what it really is – a load of poppycock – the Spaniards have excelled in their debut season and travel to Germany having lost just one of their nine matches so far and still well in the tie.
A 0-0 draw at home is a more than acceptable result – the first thing you want to do in your own stadium is not concede an away goal – and as such, they can go to Dortmund with some confidence of getting what they need.
But I just don’t see it happening and I think that Dortmund will give the neutrals something to shout about.
They are 7/20 to win in 90 minutes and even if that is a bit short, I want to be finding the value on a home win rather than the draw at 4/1 or Malaga at 27/4. And the way to do that is the 21/20 on a home win that sees over 2.5 goals.
We know there are plenty of goals in this Dortmund side – they have 66 league goals this year – but they are liable to let one in: they have kept just seven clean sheets in the league and only three in nine European games.
But ultimately, they will have too much firepower for Malaga. They should already be ahead in the tie after wasting chances last week and at home Dortmund will not be so profligate.
In total, 12 of Dortmund’s last 13 wins have seen over 2.5 goals and Klopp’s side have won eight of their last nine home matches, with seven of those eight wins seeing at least three goals. Even the defeat was a surprise 4-1 reverse to Hamburg.
Malaga, on the other hand, have only won two of their last nine and have lost three of their last five away trips.
One or two players aside, they just don’t possess the same class as Dortmund, and with 80,000 vocal fans to cheer them on, the home side can get the job finished.