2 April, 2014 - 14:12

UEFA Champions League preview: Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund and PSG vs Chelsea

Real Madrid host Borussia Dortmund in a replay of last year semifinals, PSG face Chelsea in a clash of two billionaire-funded projects.

Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund
Juergen Klopp’s Dortmund beat the Spanish giants 4-3 on aggregate last season to reach the Champions League final. However, the Germans have been plagued with multiple injuries during 2013/2014 season and are unlikely to repeat their success against powerful Madrid side, guided by Carlo Ancelotti. Marcel Schmelzer, Sven Bender, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Ilkay Gündogan, Neven Subotic are all injured. Key striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored a poker against Real Madrid last year, is suspended. Of the starting line-up that excelled last term, only Marco Reus, Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels and Roman Weidenfeller are available. Carlo Ancelotti’s only losses are defenders Marcelo and Alvaro Arbeloa, as well as a forward Jese. Sami Khedira returned to training after recovering from cruciate ligament injury, but is unlikely to feature in Champions League quarter-finals. Real Madrid are running third in La Liga, three points adrift the leading neighbours from Vicente Calderon. Borussia Dortmund compete with Schalke 04 for the runner-up position in Bundesliga.

Carlo Ancelotti feels Real will need to show quality to beat the opposition: “They are missing an important player in Lewandowski but they defend well and are dangerous on the counter attack. We have to impose our quality and our ability so as to find positive answers”.

Juergen Klopp conceded that his problems will not deprive Borussia of the desire to beat the favourites: “With our budget and list of injuries… we are the underdogs in the tie. However, I always say that it is not necessary to be the best team in the world but to be capable of beating the best in the world in a one-off contest, and Borussia can beat the best. That is the most important thing for me”.

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PSG vs Chelsea
Some pundits dub this encounter as “Qatari money against Russian money”. It might be true, but it definitely will be an amusing rivalry between the leaders of French football and Premier League title contenders.

Jose Mourinho, as usual, was hardly saying anything constructive: “Paris is the kind of match they feel comfortable to play. Big match, great stadium, opponents with top quality, they will be fine. They will be in their natural habitat in that match. They can do a good match there. They have some of the best players in the world playing together in the same team, so they are a very powerful team. They are big, big, big candidates”.

Laurent Blanc refused to enter the mind games: “I will not play this game. It is my choice. Mourinho is going to talk, to comment, it’s the way he operates. We’re going to have to play a great game against a great team and a great coach. He is one of the greatest. I say so because I think so.”

The managers will be able to field all their best players except Samuel Eto’O.

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Author: Leon Smolski

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