Game in a sentence
Robert Lewandowski scores four goals as Borussia Dortmund hammer Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.
- Dortmund are resilient in the face of controversy. The team didn’t allow the leaked news of Mario Goetze joining rivals Bayern Munich to destabilize their chances of reaching the Champions League final.
- There were even reports of tighter security during Dortmund’s training session, and one report even suggested Goetze’s brother was bullied at school.
- Juergen Klopp spoke and the players and fans listened. Klopp appealed for a special night and that is what he got. His team stayed united and didn’t allow Real Madrid to capitalize on the drama.
- Even the atmosphere at the stadium wasn’t hampered by the news although there were earlier fears of abuse and jeering towards Goetze.
- While all the pre-match talk was over Goetze, the game had Robert Lewandowski written all over it.
- In the 7th minute Marco Reus made a spectacular run from the half-way line past several Madrid defenders, but couldn’t get his shot near the net. The rebound ended with Lewandowski, who should have instinctively tapped it in rather than trying to do too much with the ball.
- A minute later, however, he made up for the earlier miss. Ilkay Gundogan passed the ball to Goetze who was waiting on the left. Goetze made the cross and Robert Lewandowski tapped it in, foiling Pepe. Lewandowski is now a top-scorer for Poland in the Champions League.
- At best, Madrid only looked dangerous for a few minutes, especially on the counter with their speed. But the Dortmund defence was rock solid and hindered them from establishing their usual pace.
- BVB were transitioning beautifully and pressing high up the pitch. The back-four, which at times appeared vulnerable in the past, were communicating brilliantly. Marcel Schmelzer was constantly throwing his body in front of the ball and troubling Mesut Oezil’s attempts from the right flank, who was paired with Luka Modric (Mou opted to go with him instead of Angel di Maria in the starting XI) in the centre and Ronaldo on the left.
- The entire game, Madrid struggled to create any real chances, with several coming from set pieces, especially in the first half. Oezil and Modric lacked creativity and kept having their passes intercepted. Sami Khedira was a physical presence, but his advancements were continually held back.
- Weidenfeller was absolutely stellar in net. He made a a few great saves on a slew of free kicks in the first 45 minutes. In the 24th minute he made a save on Ronaldo’s and then had to endure three more free-kicks from Xabi Alonso’s left side. One went wide and Weidenfeller made a double save on the third one.
- The German side did a fine job of containing Ronaldo, denying the Portuguese his trademark dribbling and speedy runs forward. As in the group stages, Dortmund cut Alonso out of the game, denying him the creative ability to make key passes to the forward line.
- A loss in concentration by BVB, allowed the Spanish side to score their only goal of the night. Dortmund were busy appealing for a penalty after Reus was brought down. Meanwhile Mats Hummels failed to control the ball and underhit it. Higuain was there to take advantage of the mistake and crossed it to Ronaldo, who volleyed it into the empty net. This was his 12th goal of the competition.
- But die Schwarzgelben were in cruise control, in particular their prolific striker Lewandowski. He scored his second in the 50th minute after Reus made a pass just outside the penalty box. Madrid protested saying it was offside, but the replay showed it was onside.
- The Polish international went on to score four goals, that’s four in 66 minutes, with one coming from a penalty kick. The penalty was awarded after Alonso pushed Reus to the ground.
- Pepe and Raphael Varane (with the latter starting off strong) really had difficulty defending against Lewandowski, whose hat-trick was a hard-fought effort. After controlling the ball from a forceful Schmelzer shot, Lewandowski slammed it into the top of the net. Diego Lopez stood no chance.
- Lewandowski became the first player in European football to score four goals against Real Madrid in a single game. And he almost made it five, but Diego Lopez, with probably his best save of the night, denied him that record.
- As always, the crowd at the Westfalenstadion exploded. Surprisingly, viewers weren’t treated to another brilliant tifo before kick-off. Perhaps, next time.
- Even after Madrid’s first goal, they failed to shift any momentum their way. BVB were incredible at controlling the game. Klopp wanted his team to play with Vollgasveranstaltungen and his team executed. It was another exciting and passionate performance.
- Die Schwarzgelben continued to play a very compact game denying Madrid the leeway to set up a pace. BVB were counterpressing all night and swarming key players on the Spanish side whenever they touched the ball.
- Jose Mourinho made a few substitutions in the second half, but it was pointless. Karim Benzema came on for Higuain, Kaka for Alonso and Di Maria for Modric. It’ll be hard to make a comeback now that they’re down 4-1, even with the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
- As for Dortmund, they’re the only team that still hasn’t lost a game in the CL.
- It’ll be hard to see Dortmund next season without Goetze, who has incredible chemistry with teammates Reus and striker Lewandowski. The wunderkind played another strong game tonight and was involved in the first goal.
- It’s on every football fans’ wishlist to keep this team intact. They’re truly something special, especially for a team that’s on a much smaller budget than any of the other European giants and even mid-table clubs.