The disappointment for Málaga CF in registering their first goalless home draw in the UEFA Champions League, plus losing both Weligton and Manuel Iturra for the return leg, will be offset by the knowledge that Borussia Dortmund might easily have finished off this quarter-final.
Jürgen Klopp's side will return home confident of progression, but with the niggling thought that they passed up a major opportunity to win. Certainly the first half was, from start to finish, a torrent of chances for the Bundesliga team. Fuelled by one-touch, highly technical and belief-imbued football which would have been the envy of any club, anywhere, the outgoing German champions could have established a three-goal lead.
It was a false dawn when Javier Saviola had the first opportunity, with which he bulged the outside of the net, as goalkeeper Willy then became Málaga's chief protagonist. The deluge started when Robert Lewandowski nodded Kevin Grosskreutz's long ball into the path of Mario Götze. It was the sort of one-on-one chance where any striker is heavily favoured. The goalkeeper blocked.
Episode two followed almost directly. A cushioned pass from Lewandowski to his right again put Götze face to face with the Argentinian custodian. Once more Willy was his equal. For variety, Dortmund let others have a go. Marco Reus was thwarted by the keeper again, while a combination of Willy and Martín Demichelis was needed to repel Lewandowski as he surged into the box chasing his own flick.
The football was electric. The tempo and the pressure were causing Málaga to eschew their normally patient, intelligent build-up. Once they drew breath, however, Júlio Baptista and Joaquín produced a couple of magic moments, the crowd roared and Manuel Pellegrini's team, against the flow, nearly went in front. Joaquín's corner, Baptista's header and from Roman Weidenfeller's save, Jérémy Toulalan missed the chance to nod in.
The pattern continued, with the variation that, after the break, Lewandowski sliced a gilt-edged opportunity wide without requiring Willy's intervention. But it appeared that while taking stock in the changing rooms, Málaga had also drawn inspiration from Pellegrini's counsel. They tried to re-establish the meticulous play they are known for and it helped. Even though Götze competed his hat-trick of misses, pulling his effort centimetres wide of the far post, there was action at the other end too.
Isco's fierce 65th-minute shot brought a terrific diving parry from Weidenfeller and second later Toulalan smacked a long-range drive into the arms of the visiting keeper. Antunes also drove narrowly over in the last seconds yet the Spanish debutants had to settle for their seventh clean sheet of this UEFA Champions League campaign – and a second chance in Germany next week.
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