Madrid, April 2 (IANS) Malaga football club of Spain will play perhaps the most important game in their history when they entertain Germany’s Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinal first leg of the Champions League Wednesday night.
The Spanish side are without doubt the surprise package of the competition and have reached the last eight in fine style in what is their first appearance in the tournament, reports Xinhua.
Despite a backdrop of economic worries and the sale of key players such as Santi Cazolra and Nacho Montreal, the side coached by Manuel Pellegrini finished top of a group containing AC Milan, Zenit St. Petersburg and Panathinaikos, before knocking Portugal’s Porto out in a thrilling last 16 tie.
Pellegrini insists his players are in the Champions League to compete with the best and the fact is that the city is buzzing with expectation ahead of the visit of the German champions, who will be accompanied by around 2,000 travelling supporters.
The club has released two videos with the idea of further exciting the fans, but the fact is that the supporters in the La Rosaleda Stadium need little reminding of what is at stake.
Pellegrini will have all of his squad available except for winger Eliseu, who has a knee problem and Pedro Morales. Morales scored a brilliant goal in Malaga’s 3-1 win away to Rayo Vallecano Saturday, but the midfielder who arrived in January was not inscribed in the club’s 25-man European squad and is unavailable to play.
Meanwhile experienced winger, Joaquin Sanchez summed up the feeling in the club as he spoke to the press ahead of the big game.
“These are the sort of games that footballers all want to play. We are really happy that we can enjoy the atmosphere and that the fans are all sharing in this. You can feel the excitement everywhere you go,” said the former Spain international.
“There are the games that show whether or not you are a big club and we are going to be aggressive from the start, but even if we win 8-0 we will not relax in the return leg because we are close to fulfilling an incredible dream and it is a dream that none of us want to wake up from,” he said.