Borussia Dortmund 4 - 1 Real Madrid (UEFA Champions League, Semi-finanls, 1st Leg)

Real Madrid thrive on adversity, on the big occasions and in the biggest stadiums. It is something that is embedded in the badge and that they have shown throughout their history. It was seen at the Camp Nou in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey, at Old Trafford and is what they will try to repeat on Tuesday at the Bernabeu. Lewandowski, with four goals, played a starring role for Borussia Dortmund. The Polish striker put his team ahead on the scoreboard, while Cristiano Ronaldo, just before halftime, equalised. The three goals that came in the second half, one of them following a harsh penalty decision against Xabi Alonso, made winning the semi-final an uphill struggle. The magic and mystique surrounding Real Madrid’s stadium on big European nights will be needed to take its team to Wembley in less than a week.

Lewandowski celebrates a goal against Real Madrid
Lewandowski, the Borussia's hero

Borussia Dortmund were aware that doing well would depend on imposing a high tempo in the opening minutes. The Germans, supported by their home crowd, squeezed the Whites’ ball out of the back and it produced the desired results. Reus was the first to have an attempt following a fine solo run. The great full-stretch save from Diego Lopez denied the goal in the 6th minute. The first goal came two minutes later. Gotze’s cross came in from the left for Lewandowski to poke it in and put his team in front.

Things looked to be against them very soon, but Real Madrid began to lord over possession of the ball from that moment. Borussia, with the score in their favour, were looking to use their quick counterattack. The Whites not only managed to annul the threat but were also able to level the match just before the break. Hummels’ mistake in getting the ball to his goalkeeper, and Higuain, reacting fastest, took advantage and played the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese scored with ease in the 43rd minute what was his twelfth goal in the competition. The psychological advantage that the goal gave was important, not only because of when it came but also for because of it being a valuable away goal. The Whites went to the dressing room ahead in the tie.

Despite that, the second half could not have begun worse. The home team, as they did in the first half, put themselves ahead early on. Reus had a poorly struck shot in the 50th minute, but Lewandowski got hold of the rebound and beat Diego Lopez for a second time. Back to square one, but with Real Madrid a goal behind. In a very similar move, and with the same player at the centre of it, the third goal came five minutes later. Borussia Dortmund’s Polish striker was once again in the area and following another rebound he beat the visiting goalkeeper with his shot. Things looked even more difficult.

There were 35 minutes remaining and a goal for the Whites’ would bring the semi-final closer to parity. Modric, with a low shot that was blocked by Weidenfeller, could have brought that goal in the 57th minute, but it was the home team’s fourth that came following a harshly awarded penalty against Xabi Alonso. Lewandosski converted it in the 66th minute. Mourinho decided to bring on Di Maria and Benzema for Modric and Higuain. Then, with the match already in the 80th minute, Kaka replaced Xabi Alonso. Real Madrid failed to score, although Cristiano Ronaldo came close to doing so in the 88th minute and again in stoppage time, and will have to turn the tie around on Tuesday in the Santiago Bernabeu. The magic and mystique surrounding Real Madrid’s stadium on big European nights will be needed to take its team to Wembley.


Stadium: Signal Iduna Park
Attendance: 80,720
Goals: 1-0 Lewandowski min.8; 1-1 Cristiano Ronaldo min.43; 2-1 Lewandowski min.50; 3-1 Lewandowski min.55; 4-1 Lewandowski (pen) min.66.

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