Saturday, 16 March 2013

The UEFA Champions League quarterfinal draw threw up some enticing tactical battles to sink our teeth into.
What advantage do Galatasaray hold over Real Madrid, and which Malaga player can exploit Borussia Dortmund's gung-ho attitude?
We preview the key tactical battles in each of the four ties.

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Malaga vs. Borussia Dortmund

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Key battle: Borussia Dortmund's explosive right vs. Malaga's clever left
This tie doesn't look that sexy on paper. However, from a tactical perspective, there are quite a few variables.
Dortmund's high-pressure, fast-paced style will meet a defensive rock in Martin Demichelis and Weligton, and you can see Juergen Klopp planning carefully for every eventuality.
No matter what the tie, Dortmund's Polish duo of Lukasz Piszczek and Jakub Blaszczykowski will bomb forward on the right to help sustain pressure.
This leaves Golden Boy Isco of Malaga to drop in and out of space expertly, and he may well find himself with a little more room than usual coming in off the left.
Los Boquerones will take a counterattacking mentality, and a lack of pace could hurt them. However, if Isco can weave his magic, they can find some joy down one particular flank.


Hi-res-163164088_display_imageReal Madrid vs. Galatasaray

Key battle: Galatasaray's 4-4-2 forcing Real Madrid into long periods of possession
On paper, this is a dream tie for Jose Mourinho's Madrid.
In reality, it may pose a few problems, and those problems start in Galatasaray's formation.
Gala have used a 4-4-2 formation for the large majority of their games in Europe this season and don't mess about with the ball. They move it quickly, shoot from distance and get the ball into eight-goal striker Burak Yilmaz as fast as possible.
This will likely result in Madrid having the majority of possession, and it's well known that los Blancos struggle when given the time and space most crave.
It remains to be seen whether Xabi Alonso will be man-marked, of course. However, even if he isn't, he can be guilty of trying to force things that aren't open. Luka Modric is the key to Madrid's progression, much like he was in the Round of 16 against Manchester United.

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona

Key battle: Lionel    messi vs.whoever's there to stop him

Barcelona's resurgent performance against AC Milan at the Camp Nou will have sent a chilling sensation down the other seven sides' spines.
When they're in dominant form, there's just no stopping them.
Paris Saint-Germain will feel they have the tools to pull off a similar game plan to the Rossoneri, only this time to make it work over two legs.
The flow of play is very predictable. Barca maintain possession and probe, and on occasion, PSG counter with pace and try to expose the flanks.
Milan had a frightened Stephan El Shaarawy and a young M'Baye Niang to lean on, but the French side have arguably better options.
But Barcelona will there with the quality midfield of iniesta,xavi abd busquets and with unstoppable leo and with spains all time scorer and a  furnished defence so to make their way to semifinals.
I should see Barcelona Winning the DUO,,,,,,,,,

Bayern Munich vs. Juventus

Key battle: Thomas Mueler and Mario Mandzukic's movement vs. Giorgio Chiellini and Juventus' left-wing-back
No, that isn't just a long way of saying "defence vs. attack."
Much of Bayern Munich's success this season is sourced in Mueller's emergence from the shadow of Arjen Robben, while Mandzukic acclimated quickly to life in Bavaria too.
The pair have formed an incredible footballing duo, and their interchanging of movement and manipulation of defensive lines has opposing coaches tearing their hair out.
It's not often Jupp Heynckes' side come up against a three-man defence (if ever), so this should be thrilling. Giorgio Chiellini will be right in the thick of it as a left-sided centre-back, and who Antonio Conte chooses to play at left-wing-back could make or break the tie.
Does he go with the careful, measured Federico Peluso (who shut down Christian Maggio) or the explosive, energetic Kwadwo Asamoah, who did so well before the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations?