Death of Pellegrini’s dad mars build-up

Malaga were hit by lightning and the death of coach Manuel Pellegrini’s father as they prepared for tonight’s Champions League quarter-final second leg at Borussia Dortmund.

The Spaniards, who drew 0-0 in the first leg, slumped to a 4-2 defeat at Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday, with Pellegrini returning to Chile immediately after the game for the funeral. Malaga said the coach intended to travel to Germany today, a day later than his players.

The Spaniards also had to endure a nerve-wracking flight up to the Basque Country on Friday, when their aircraft was caught in a thunderstorm.

Unable to land in San Sebastian and diverted to nearby Bilbao, the plane touched down after being struck three times by lightning and the team had to finish their journey by coach. “It was generally a weekend to forget and let’s hope we can give the coach some joy on Tuesday,” captain Weligton said.

Pellegrini rested a host of key players as the Qatar-owned club slipped four points behind the fourth-placed Basque club with eight games left. Centre back Weligton and midfielder Manuel Iturra both played as they are suspended for tonight’s game but playmaker Isco, winger Joaquin, midfielder Jeremy Toulalan and forward Javier Saviola, among others, did not feature.

The Germans, undefeated in the competition this season, enjoyed a perfect dress rehearsal, easing past Augsburg 4-2 with coach Juergen Klopp fielding a second-string team to rest seven starters. Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski made second-half appearances and the Poland international added his 21st goal of the season to lead the Bundesliga scorers’ list but defender Mats Hummels and midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski remain injury doubts. Dortmund who have won all their home games in the Champions League this season, beating Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax in the group stage are looking for their first semi-final spot in 15 years.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND (Probable): R Weidenfeller; L Piszczek, N Subotic, M Hummels, M Schmelzer; I Guendogan, S Bender; K Grosskreutz, M Goetze, M Reus; R Lewandowski.

MALAGA (Probable): W Caballero; J Gamez, D Lugano, M Demichelis, Antunes; J Toulalan, I Camacho; Joaquin, J Baptista, Isco; J Saviola.

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