Jurgen Klopp is refusing to talk up Borussia Dortmund’s prospects of performing a “miracle” as his side look to overcome a 3-0 deficit to Real Madrid, but is adamant they won’t exit the Champions League without a fight.
Missing a host of injured players as well as the suspended Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund were dominated by Madrid in the Spanish capital last week. It was a dramatic turnaround in fortunes from when the clubs met in last year’s semifinal and Dortmund famously triumphed thanks to a 4-1 win at their own Westfalenstadion. Lewandowski scored all four goals that day and with the Polish striker returning to the team on Tuesday, there is some cause for optimism for the Bundesliga side. Certainly Klopp is targeting a much better performance than in the first leg of their quarterfinal when sloppy defending and a feeble attack cost them dear.
“I don't know how many miracles have been proclaimed before they happened,” he said, according to UEFA.com. “We don't have any right to speak about that, but we have the right to give everything tomorrow and perform with will power. If we somehow get a result that takes us through, then great; if not, we want to say goodbye to the Champions League with a good performance.”
Although Lewandowski returns, Dortmund lose their captain Sebastian Kehl through suspension. And Klopp remains without a host of first-team players due to injury, including Ilkay Gundogan, Neven Subotic, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Marcel Schmelzer and Sven Bender. With Nuri Sahin also experiencing back problems, Dortmund have a major issue in central midfield.
Real Madrid have their own fitness concern with Cristiano Ronaldo still struggling with a knee injury. Having left his team’s training session early on Monday, it is unlikely that the Portuguese star will play, at least from the start. In his place could well be Angel di Maria, who returned from illness as a substitute in Madrid’s 4-0 win at Real Sociedad on Saturday. That victory kept Real Madrid within three points of the Primera Division summit, although few at the club would deny that it is the Champions League and the quest for La Decima that is the primary objective.
Madrid are now firm favorites to reach the last four for the fourth consecutive season. But coach Carlo Ancelotti is no prepared to simply sit back on their 3-0 advantage, knowing that an away goal for his side would leave Dortmund needing to score five.
“There is no need to change the system or go for a more defensive approach,” he said. “They have 90 minutes to score three, four goals. We have 90 minutes to score one, which would make things very difficult for them. The earlier we score, the easier it will be for us.
“We have to find a balance between defense and attack. But we want to play our attacking brand of football. That's where our strength lies. That's what we have to bring to the pitch. But you cannot attack for the entire 90 minutes. Together, we will have to defend well at times.”
Where to watch: The second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 2, with a live stream available via Fox Soccer 2Go.