champions league

Real and Málaga aim to set up Spain-heavy semifinals

Mourinho battles complacency while the Anchovies believe they can pull off a shock in Germany

Málaga players warm up during a training session at the stadium in Dortmund on Monday.
Málaga players warm up during a training session at the stadium in Dortmund on Monday.PATRIK STOLLARZ (AFP)

José Mourinho is taking nothing for granted in Istanbul, despite carrying a 3-0 advantage into Real Madrid's second-leg match against Galatasaray. The Portuguese coach even showed his players a video of a comeback by a side 3-0 down from the first leg of a knockout tie.

The message is that complacency leads to untimely exits. In truth Real simply has to score to practically ensure a third semifinal in as many years — if it does so, the host will need to find five in reply. But the Champions League has become the be-all and end-all of Real's season and there is no room for a costly slip-up against the Turkish giant. With Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso suspended, the sight of Pepe limping out of training on Monday will not have been a welcome one.

Málaga's situation could not be more different. Few expected Manuel Pellegrini's team to get out of the group on its Champions League debut, let alone to get past a fancied Porto side over two legs in the previous round. Now, the Anchovies travel to Dortmund with a goalless slate and the possible advantage of away strikes to turn the tie in its favor: score, avoid defeat, and Málaga goes through.

"It doesn't matter to us that they are favorites," said defender Jesús Gámez. "So were Milan and Zenit, and we won the group. We're capable of taking on the big clubs."

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