Despite news of Mario Götze’s summer exit, Jürgen Klopp wants a “special” night as Borussia Dortmund seek to repeat their autumn results against Real Madrid CF.
As preparations for a first UEFA Champions League semi-final in 15 years go, eve-of-match news that one of your best players is leaving to join your rivals in the summer is not ideal.
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp has had to deal with exactly that, however, with Mario Götze announcing a July move to FC Bayern München. Yet Klopp is determined not to let Real Madrid CF think Dortmund are wounded ahead of Wednesday’s first leg, urging the home fans:
“Let’s make it a special and outstanding night, a real BVB night. Leave all your negative emotions at home and will us to victory against Real Madrid.”
José Mourinho has taken Madrid to the semi-finals for a third season running but, despite defeat in the previous two, he was in relaxed mood as he plotted an improvement on his side’s group stage loss in Dortmund.
Jürgen Klopp, coach
On a scale of one to ten [news of Götze’s transfer on the eve of the game] would be a nine. The only way the timing could have been worse would have been if it came four hours before the match. I learned last night at ten that it was going public. I heard about this on Thursday after the Málaga return leg – I had one day to be happy about that result.
The release clause was there and we must not forget that a little more than a year ago we used a buy-out clause to sign Marco Reus from Gladbach for €17m. They were not too happy either. Götze knows he owes a lot to the club, but he gave a lot back as well. I have spoken to a few players, but nobody has to fear that we are not fully focused.
Everyone should support the team tomorrow, no matter what – Real Madrid cannot capitalise on this. If someone does not understand how much heart has gone into getting this far, they should not come. Those who understand will support the team unconditionally. Our fans have reacted extremely well in extreme situations in the past. I think that will be the case again.
Real Madrid have different ways of playing. At Manchester [United FC] they had 68% possession, even when it was 11 v 11, so they can play a possession game. They are not all about transition play, attacking on the break. Madrid are one of the best teams in the world and capable of playing every style there is. But so can we. Which one we employ tomorrow, you will have to wait and see.
Saturday: Borussia Dortmund 2-0 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Reus 1, Lewandowski 87)
Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Subotić, Hummels, Schmelzer; Gündoğan, Şahin; Błaszczykowski (Grosskreutz 62), Götze (Schieber 74), Reus (Leitner 86); Lewandowski.
• Marco Reus struck after 33 seconds and Robert Lewandowski extended his club record run of scoring in successive Bundesliga games to 12 as Dortmund claimed a seventh straight home win. They have registered 23 goals in the process, never fewer than two in a match.
Lewandowski is available after shaking off a thigh knock suffered on Saturday while Sebastian Kehl (foot) and Sven Bender (pelvis) are likely to start after sitting out the Mainz victory as a precaution.
Real Madrid CF
José Mourinho, coach
In the semi-finals, there are four of the six teams almost everybody was expecting. Sometimes there are surprise teams, but not this time. It could have been Manchester United or Juventus, but no other team. It is difficult to predict who will reach the final – I’d predict it is 25% for Borussia Dortmund and 25% for Real Madrid to win the title.
The four goals we conceded against Dortmund in the group stage were all our mistakes. Should we concede again in these two games, I hope it would be because of fantastic and unstoppable goals, not ones created by our mistakes. But of course we hope not to concede many goals at all!
I don’t know Jürgen Klopp very well but he seems to be very authentic. When I hear him saying he doesn’t want to focus too much on the way Real Madrid play and focus on his team, I believe he will play a very attacking game and Dortmund will run and fight for every ball.
I feel no pressure and am not scared. I do not know those feelings, that’s how I cope. It is a situation like we had against Galatasaray or United – a match we want to win and in which we will try to give our best.
I hope that my team, who I value tremendously as individuals as well as a team, will be able to convince here and in the return leg. This team have great players who give everything they have and deserve to win this competition.
When I joined this club, it was already very successful, but we were not among the top seeds. The club has been developed.
Madrid are one of those clubs where finishing second counts for nothing – so we have to reach the final and win.
Saturday: Real Madrid CF 3-1 Real Betis Balompié
(Özil 45 90, Benzema 57, Molina 73pen)
López; Nacho, Albiol, Carvalho, Marcelo (Varane 15); Casemiro, Modrić (Pepe 63), Callejón, Özil, Ronaldo; Benzema (Higuaín 72).
• On his 150th appearance for the Merengues, Mesut Özil’s second consecutive Liga double along with Karim Benzema’s ninth seasonal league goal helped second-placed Madrid stretch their unbeaten streak to ten games. Brazil midfielder Casemiro made his senior debut.
Michael Essien (muscle strain), Fábio Coentrão (muscular problems) and Álvaro Arbeloa (back) skipped the weekend action, as did the suspended Xabi Alonso. Sergio Ramos and Sami Khedira were rested. Luka Modrić (calf) and Marcelo (thigh) picked up injuries, however, while Ángel Di María may miss the Dortmund trip as his wife has just given birth. Arbeloa is banned.
• Madrid ended Dortmund’s reign as European champions when the teams met in the 1997/98 semi-finals. Fernando Morientes and Christian Karembeu’s first-leg goals in Spain earned a 2-0 aggregate success for Jupp Heynckes’ side, who went on to lift the trophy.
Borussia Dortmund – Real Madrid Betting Prediction
Tip: AH 1 (DNB)