Malaga gave as good as they got in the first leg of this Champions League quarterfinal with Borussia Dortmund, but with the tie set to conclude Tuesday in Germany, it’s the Bundesliga side who are favourites to progress, although to do just that they’ll need to be rather more clinical with their finishing than they were in Spain.
With that in mind, and with Jakub Blaszczykowski still sidelined with a groin strain, even more of the offensive load will fall to Germany international Marco Reus, who will once again be deployed on the right of the Dortmund attack rather than the left, which is where Kevin Grosskreutz will once again be operating.
Reus, Dortmund’s assist leader this season, is also second to top scorer Robert Lewandowski with 15 goals in all competitions this term—three of which have come in the Champions League.
But he has failed to find the back of the net since bagging a brace against Frankfurt in the middle of February—a run of eight matches—and may well need to break that duck for his side to get the offense they require to oust a very stingy Malaga side from Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Coming into Tuesday’s match, Malaga—whose 32 goals against in 30 La Liga matches is second only to Real Madrid—have the best defensive record of the teams remaining in the Champions League and will no doubt be looking to keep things tight against Dortmund as they look to nick an away goal at the Westfalenstadion.
Their hosts, meanwhile, will be hoping the scoring patterns that have served them so well in the past will bear fruit again on Tuesday, which is where Reus comes into the picture.
So much of Dortmund’s effectiveness going forward has come from the right-hand side of the park the last two seasons. Blaszczykowski and right-back Lukasz Piszczek have a way of overwhelming their opponents on that flank, but with the Poland captain still injured, it will fall to Reus to fill in.
Used mostly on the left in combination with left-back Marcel Schmelzer since arriving at Dortmund from Borussia Monchengladbach, Dortmund will be relying on the 23-year-old to transfer his effectiveness to the opposite flank, where he will be going up against Malaga left-back Vitorio Antunes.
Lewandowski, in particular, will hope his teammate can begin to thrive to his right as he so often did on his left in the early going this season. With goals in 12 of his last 15 matches, the Poland striker is Dortmund’s best bet to score Tuesday—a job that will no doubt be made easier if Reus is working the channels and providing quality service like he did until going into his mini-slump seven weeks ago.