Spain's goalkeeper Diego Lopez (R) catches the ball beside teammate Iker Casillas during a training session at Spanish Soccer Federation training grounds in Las Rozas, near Madrid March 25, 2009. Spain will face Turkey in the upcoming 2010 World Cup qualifier match on Saturday. (Photo : REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN SPORT SOCCER))
Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid is a semifinals bout that few expected, but should wind up full of intense emotions. The first leg of the matchup takes place in one week with both sides looking to take a major advantage. One of the most interesting stories entering the match will be in goal. While Dortmund does not have a major controversy, Real Madrid's net decisions are starting to stir the pot. Here is how the team's netminders rank against one another.
Borussia Dortmund: Roman Weidenfeller
No controversy here as the keeper has started 27 Bundesliga games and has made a total of 61 one saves and pitched six clean sheets. Weidenfeller has started every single Champions league match for Dortmund and has been equally reliable for the team in between the pipes. In 10 matches he has only allowed nine goals and has pitched four clean sheets. He has never conceded more than two goals in a match and that has only happened three times in 10 tries; in the two matches against Madrid he has only needed to make a combined three saves.
Real Madrid: Iker Casillas or Diego Lopez?
Longtime Madrid captain Iker Casillas is back and ready to play, but Coach Jose Mourinho wants him to earn his spot in the net. Why? Because his "temporary" replacement Diego Lopez has been stellar in the UCL. Since joining Los Blancos in the round of 16, Lopez has allowed only five goals in four matches and pitched the team's only clean sheet against Galatasaray. While his more recent performance against the Turkish side was far from great, Lopez was the catalyst in the opening leg against Manchester United as he saved the team from a number of potential backbreaking shots. When the English side pressured in the return leg, he was up to the task and backstopped the team to the quarterfinals.
Prior to his injury, Casillas was having an inconsistent year. He would have moments that reminded others of his former glory, but would also be the victim of "soft" goals. He fell out of Mourinho's favor and will likely sit out the upcoming bout against Borussia. In five UCL matches this year, Casillas allowed eight goals.
Edge: It's pretty even. Even if Casillas was in the net, he has yet to prove that he is back in top form.