Team: Borussia Dortmund
Already 17 points adrift of FC Bayern München, Dortmund are unlikely to finish the season with a third successive Bundesliga title, but a repeat of their 1996/97 UEFA Champions League success looks a little more likely following their 3-0 round of 16 second-leg defeat of FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday. Felipe Santana, Mario Götze and Jakub Błaszczykowski all scored in a typically adventurous performance.
"I hope Dortmund reach the final as they are a really strong side," said Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu. "We're young and it's the first time we've got this far in the Champions League, so it's really amazing," added Dortmund defender Neven Subotić. "We showed the whole world that, even though we're young, we have the courage and quality to do it our way."
Player: Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
Zlatan Ibrahimović tends to dominate the headlines where PSG are concerned, but with the Sweden striker suspended on Wednesday night, it was Ezqeuiel Lavezzi who shone brightest. The Argentinian international forward eased his side's nerves with a goal – his fifth in his last four UEFA Champions League games – after Valencia CF had taken the lead in France and threatened to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit.
Galvanised, PSG held on for a 1-1 draw to make the quarter-finals for the first time since 1994/95. "Lavezzi is an exceptional player, we're lucky to have him," team-mate Blaise Matuidi said of the 27-year-old. "It's important to be playing in knockout matches like these – it gives you extra motivation," Lavezzi told UEFA.com. "You have to be 100% focused and never relax."
Goal: Francesco Totti (AS Roma)
"Next stop Silvio Piola," read a huge banner at the Stadio Olimpico last Sunday. By registering in Roma's 3-1 victory over Genoa CFC, Giallorossi captain Francesco Totti drew level with 225-goal Gunnar Nordhal in second place on Serie A's all-time scorers' list. "I wanted this goal at all costs and I managed to get it in front of my people," said the 36-year-old, who opened his Italian top-flight account on 4 September 1994. Totti now needs 49 more to reach Piola's mark. "I will quit football once I overtake him," he joked.
Manchester United FC's 2-1 home defeat by Real Madrid CF meant that Ryan Giggs can scarcely have enjoyed his 1,000th competitive appearance, but the 39-year-old's contribution did not go unnoticed. "Ryan Giggs is going to finish when he's 50 years old," joked former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo. "He is an incredible player, it is unbelievable. Giggsy is the flag of his club. I am happy for him." Madrid's Xabi Alonso added: "He is someone I really respect. He is a great example to all footballers with the way he behaves on the pitch and the way he plays."
"This team is hungry and we always have to be hungry because we've just started eating. We sat at the table last year with the Scudetto, but we've just started eating."
Did Juventus coach Antonio Conte skip a meal ahead of his team's 2-0 win against Celtic FC on Wednesday?
Wolfman: Alan Pardew (Newcastle United FC)
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew chose an unlikely way to pay tribute to the likes of Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Emperor Aleksandr III as he took his squad to Moscow for their 0-0 UEFA Europa League round of 16 opener against FC Anji Makhachkala on Thursday – he grew a beard.
"Moscow is a fantastic city," he beamed. "I've even grown a beard because Russia is famous for people with great beards – not just Lenin in particular. I just think it is nice to pay some respects when you go to certain places." Expect Anji coach Guus Hiddink to go top-less Geordie-style if he chooses to return the compliment in Newcastle next week.
Happy 21st: Owen Heary (Bohemian FC)
The defender's 21st Irish Premier Division campaign is set to be his last, but the 36-year-old will not be taking it easy as he juggles his many roles – as well as being Bohemians captain, the seven-times Irish title winner is also the Dublin club's assistant manager and coach of the Under-19s.
"I decided for definite over the last couple of weeks that I'd give it a go this year and then finish," said the former Kilkenny City AFC and Shelbourne FC player. "It's a bit sad but there's still a whole season to go. I've a lot to look forward to. We have a very young team at Bohemians this season, but I would like to maybe win something or get into Europe."
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