While powerhouse clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid are still alive in the UEFA Champions League this spring, lesser-known clubs like Malaga and Borussia Dortmund are looking to crash the semifinal party.
The two sides will go head to head in the first leg of their quarterfinal tie on Wednesday in La Rosaleda, Spain. Although they will meet again next week in Dortmund, Germany, both will want to get off to a strong start, giving themselves some room for error in leg No. 2.
Below we'll highlight a trio of must-watch players in Wednesday's quarterfinal clash between Malaga and Borussia Dortmund.
Mario Gotze, Borussia Dortmund
A technically-gifted player, Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze is a phenomenal attacking player and also a real threat to score if and when he's looking to do so.
The 20-year-old German international leads the club with four assists in seven UEFA Champions League starts this season. Although he is a bit undersized, Gotze's brilliant footwork and ability to attack with pace on either side with either foot makes him a multi-dimensional threat.
Gotze is still learning the game and developing his skill, but already his speed and creativity have emerged as tremendous assets as he leads Dortmund into the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder Francisco Alarcon Suarez is better known by Malaga supporters as Isco, and considering his exciting play for the club this season, he's more than earned the right to be called whatever he likes.
The Spanish star has recorded three goals and three assists for Malaga in six UEFA Champions League starts this season, including the first goal in last month's 2-0 win over FC Porto in the Round of 16 in La Rosaleda.
Isco boasts sensational touch and can score with both power and precision. If he makes his way in or around the box on Wednesday he'll have a real shot to put Malaga ahead.
Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund
Another young striker with tons of potential, Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski will be a must-watch player in Wednesday's first leg.
The 24-year-old Polish star seems like an aging veteran when compared to Gotze and Isco, and has played for Dortmund for the past three seasons, recording nearly 70 goals over that time. Lewandowski is also a star for the Poland national team, having netted 17 international goals since 2008.
Look for Lewandowski to create numerous scoring chances for the visiting side, as he leads Dortmund in UEFA Champions League play this season with five goals and two assists in eight appearances.
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