Malaga vs. Borussia Dortmund, 2013 UEFA Champions League draw: Underdogs battle for semi-final place

Jasper Juinen

Borussia Dortmund and Malaga's quarter-final battle ensures that the semi-final stage will feature at least one underdog team.

Borussia Dortmund and Malaga will compete for an unlikely semi-final place as the German giants battle it out with the financially-stricken Spaniards. Either team will have done remarkably well to reach the semi-final, with Dortmund not enjoying their best year and having done well to even get out of their group of death, although they will have to seriously up their game if they have any designs on winning the trophy.

Malaga, in contrast, have appeared a bit of a rabble, but thanks to the performances of one player in particular, they've been able to go on a remarkable run and have a fighting chance of extending it even further.

Key player

Isco - A simple choice. Isco has been a revelation this season and has had a bigger impact on the Champions League this season than any other player, starring throughout for Malaga as the club have made their way to the quarter-finals. He'll need another brilliant performance to give his team a chance of going through, but in what will almost certainly be his last year for the club, he is more than capable of giving his supporters the parting gift of a semi-final berth at least.

Matchup to watch

Isco vs. Sven Bender

With Isco being the key player, it follows that Dortmund's deepest midfielder is likely to have a tough job in keeping an eye on him. That man will likely be Sven Bender, who certainly has all the attributes to keep the playmaker quiet. Malaga are not a one-man team, and do have threats from elsewhere, but if Bender can ensure his defence is not exposed to the vision and technique of Isco, then that should be half the battle.

Prediction

Dortmund to win by two goals

Borussia Dortmund are simply the better side here, and with their league campaign well and truly over, they can afford to fully focus themselves on this game. Over the course of the two games, it's hard not to see their superior quality and balance shine through.

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