Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg

Game in a sentence

Two late goals from Real Madrid weren’t enough to advance to the Champions League final as Borussia Dortmund win 3-4 on aggregate.

Observations

  • Despite a late scare in the final 10 minutes of the match, the thrill factor was largely absent for the rest of the match. 2-0 was as much as Madrid could muster.
  • So yes, the team that has caught everyone’s imagination and adoration is heading to the final.
  • Jose Mourinho made a few changes to the lineup. He left Sami Khedira out and instead paired Xabi Alonso with Luka Modric.
  • Angel Di Maria also returned, allowing Mesut Oezil to play in his more natural position, in the centre right behind Gonzalo Higuain. The German international created many chances, but missed a crucial opportunity early in the game.
  • Di Maria surely added a level of energy and speed that was missing in the first leg. Modric also connected finely with Di Maria and created several great passes.
  • In the first 15 minutes, Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ozil all had incredible chances, but failed to convert. Higuain got the first chance for his team. His right-footer, however, was poor and Roman Weidenfeller was quick to cut down the angle and make the save with his stretched-out leg.
  • That chance was followed by Ronaldo’s attempt, which went straight to the Dortmund keeper, who managed to make the save. Ozil had another excellent opportunity for Madrid on the right side, but his attempt also went wide.
  • The majority of Madrid’s attacks came from the right flank in the first half. Alonso and Modric bonded for most of the night until Mou opted for change in the second. Modric’s effort and performance were top-notch. His passing was also very effective.
  • Madrid excelled the first 30 minutes, yet their attacks slowly subsided. Their advancements left the German side tantalized with Marcel Schmelzer and Sven Bender looking quite vulnerable on the left side.
  • Dortmund did a fine job of absorbing the Spanish side’s pressure. But the attacks also forced them to concede three corners early in the game. BVB was more reactive than proactive. Their high-tempo and high-pressing tactics were missing and only short spells of it were present today.
  • At the beginning, the German side struggled to create any chances. It was only when los Blancos’ failed to sustain the pressure that die Schwarzgelben managed to step up their game. BVB’s first good opportunity came from Robert Lewandowski in the 13th minute. He couldn’t finish though.
  • Goalkeepers were solid on both ends. Diego Lopez made several salient saves, and Weidenfeller kept his team in the game when it mattered. He produced important saves in the first 30 minutes as well as in the final 10 minutes, despite conceding two late goals.
  • Mats Hummels also had a superb game tonight. He cleared and intercepted several of Madrid’s balls. Lukasz Piszczek also kept a close eye on Ronaldo and curtailed his movement deep in Dortmund’s own zone.
  • In the 14th minute, Mario Goetze had to leave the game due to some sort of hamstring injury. He was replaced by Kevin Grosskreutz. German media reporting he’ll likely miss the match against Bayern Munich this Saturday, but should be fit for the CL final in Wembley.
  • With all the licit and illicit pre-game talk by Mou, Sergio Ramos surely didn’t miss a word of it. He was excessively physical with the Polish striker and was lucky enough to get away with the fouls. Alonso also reacted very unprofessionally towards Lewandowski and appeared to slap the player in the face at one point during the game.
  • In the second half, it was more of the same. Only now, Dortmund had the better chances, including a few by Robert Lewandowski, who just couldn’t repeat the magic away at the Bernabeu.
  • His best attempt came in the 49th minute on a slide from Marco Reus, only to hit the crossbar. Although Reus didn’t make the same exceptional runs as we witnessed in the last match, he still had a strong performance tonight.
  • The wastefulness continued, with a spectacular miss by Ilkay Gundogan in the 62nd minute. Gundogan really wasn’t as decisive as usual. When Reus slipped him the ball, he should have beaten Diego Lopez, but the Madrid keeper made a confident save throwing his full body in front of the ball. Credit to Lopez, the save was exceptional and well read.
  • With time running out and the score still level, Mou brought on Karim Benzema for Higuain and Kaka for Fabio Coentrao in the 57th. He also replaced Alonso with Khedira. The substitutions soon made their impact. It was an intelligent move playing with one less defender as Madrid came very close to possibly creating an upset.
  • The final 10 minutes were pulsating. In fact, it was so intense; that some at the game were reporting the BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke reportedly left for the game once the score was 2-0 and didn’t return until the final whistle.
  • While this wasn’t the most entertaining match, Benzema’s goal brought a message of hope to a demoralized side. He scored on a pass from Oezil in the 83rd. The next 7 minutes were thrilling.
  • Madrid’s offence continued to hound Dortmund, with Weidenfeller making a series of key saves, but his defenders (and the team as whole, actually) struggled to clear the ball and Ramos eventually added another goal (with Benzema assisting) in the 88th minute.
  • Could karma hit back at BVB? Could Madrid make a comeback? Dortmund dealt with the late scare much better in the five minutes of added time, clearing the ball and holding on to the ball to kill time.
  • BVB’s unbeaten streak was finally brought to an end. They’re not invincible, after all. Despite losing tonight, they were the better team in the 180 minutes and deserved to advance to the CL final in Wembley.
  • As for Madrid, the most important development there will deal with Mou and his future at the club.
  • Perhaps, 2013 is the year of the Bundesliga. This could be the year the Germans make history and have an all-German Uefa final.
  • Choosing three stars wasn’t so easy for this match with some players on both sides having a phenomenal night. Modric was key for Madrid. Oezil’s creativity was also in full swing, just unlucky at converting. Di Maria definitely an energy boost, but couldn’t finish. Lopez with some incredible saves and Benzema of course with a goal and assist. Whereas for Dortmund, Reus was strong, Hummels just as sturdy in defence and Weidenfeller (despite the two goals) made a few very very very important saves.
  • Perhaps, the audience can choose the three best players for this game. Feel free to post them below.