Sports / Soccer

Dortmund prays for Real miracle

By Agence France-Presse in Dortmund, Germany (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-08 07:26

Goal barrage needed to keep German team's title hopes alive

Borussia Dortmund insists it has not given up hope of a Champions League miracle in Tuesday's quarterfinal, second leg against Real Madrid, even with the Spaniards holding a 3-0 lead.

Last season's finalist Dortmund stand son the verge of a Champions League exit as it needs to overturn the huge deficit at its Westfalenstadion after last Wednesday's defeat at Madrid's Bernabeu.

World player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo is set to start after he was forced off with a knee problem toward the end of the first leg, having scored Real's third goal, and was rested for Saturday's 4-0 win away to Real Sociedad.

The 29-year-old Portugal star trained with the Madrid squad on Sunday and looks set to travel to northern Germany.

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti was delighted with how his side coped without Ronaldo as goals from Asier Illarramendi, Gareth Bale, Pepe and Alvaro Morata sealed a convincing victory at Sociedad.

Madrid's Italian manager was particularly pleased not to have picked up any more injuries.

"This victory reinforces the team and, moreover, we avoided injuries and showed a good level physically," he said.

Angel di Maria is also expected to start at Dortmund after only appearing as a substitute against Sociedad.

The Argentine also missed the first leg due to gastroenteritis and Fabio Coentrao will return at leftback after being rested at the weekend.

To progress, Dortmund must better its stunning 4-1 semifinal, first-leg win at home to Real nearly 12 months ago when Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, who joins Bayern Munich next season, scored all four goals.

A similar result would see the Germans bow out on away goals but they picked up a confidence boost with a 2-1 comeback win over Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Lewandowski, who was suspended for the first leg, scored Dortmund's opening goal on Saturday and will be an obvious concern to the Real back four.

Germany winger Marco Reus, who scored its 77th-minute winner against Wolves, said his side needs to repeat Saturday's impressive second-half display after a poor opening 45 minutes.

"We have not given up (against Real)," said Reus.

"If we play like we did (against Wolfsburg) in the first half, then it will be very difficult.

"If we play as well as we did in the second, we honestly have a chance. It will be damn hard, but we'll give it everything."

Dortmund will be without suspended defensive midfielder Sebastian Kehl, which leaves coach Juergen Klopp without an obvious replacement with Sven Bender and Ilkay Gundogan injured.

Rightback Kevin Grosskreutz is set to prove his versatility once more with Klopp hinting he might switch the Germany international into the midfield.

Dortmund is also set to welcome back goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, who will take over the captain's armband from Kehl, after the 33-year-old missed the Wolves win after injuring his arm in the defeat at Madrid.

"We will not give anything away on Tuesday," said Klopp, who has endured a horror run of injuries this season with winger Jakub Blaszczykowski and Neven Subotic out with long-term knee problems.

"We want to play two 45 minutes like we did in the second half against Wolfsburg and then we will see how things stand."

(China Daily 04/08/2014 page23)

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