Saturday, Dec 20, 2014

Dortmund’s own goal ahead of Madrid test

Written by Associated Press | Madrid | Posted: April 24, 2013 1:30 am

Borussia Dortmund’s preparations for Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid have been hit by news a star player wants to leave after the season. On the eve of what it calls “the most spectacular home game in Borussia Dortmund’s history,’’ the first leg has been overshadowed by Mario Goetze’s decision to join Bayern Munich on July 1.

Bayern,which is triggering Goetze’s reported release clause of $48 million,said on Tuesday it wanted to delay the announcement “out of consideration’’ for Wednesday’s game,but Dortmund was left struggling to minimise its impact.

Goetze’s Facebook page quickly became a target for abusive messages from disappointed fans,and Dortmund appealed to supporters to continue to support the 20-year-old midfielder “unconditionally.’’ Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp concluded Tuesday’s news conference with a direct appeal to fans.

“Let’s have a great night tomorrow. Leave all the negative emotions at home,come to the stadium,and let’s beat Real Madrid,’’ Klopp said.

Dortmund,the only undefeated side left in the competition,completed a remarkable comeback in the quarterfinals with two goals in injury time to defeat Malaga 3-2,and is looking for a hat trick of home victories against Spanish opponents this season.

The sides last met in the semifinals in 1998,on Dortmund’s last appearance at this stage,when Madrid prevailed 2-0 on aggregate to dethrone the defending champion. Dortmund is aiming for just its second European Cup final,while Madrid has its 13th in sight.

“We are going to Germany to win so we can return to the Bernabeu with guarantees to try and reach the final,’’ said Madrid forward Jose Callejon.

The Spanish side had a costly 3-1 victory over Real Betis on Saturday when Luka Modric and Marcelo had to go off with injuries. French striker Karim Benzema,who scored one goal and set up another,also and had to be substituted late.

Mourinho rested his first-choice defense,with only Raphael Varane and Pepe seeing minutes as substitutes. Playmaker Xabi Alonso was also rested.

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