A year later, Real Madrid returned to Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion) looking to get some payback after that painful elimination, which saw the White Knights falling short by just one goal. They took the first step last week, getting a 3-0 win in Spain. On the road though, it would be a very different story. And at the same time, it was really similar, in a way, to last year's.
It was a slow start for both teams. Dortmund were pressuring early and Real Madrid was struggling getting past midfield. That pressure also affected Madrid's accuracy. Both Asier Illarramendi and Xabi Alonso had their hands full in the first ten minutes and were starting to look a bit overwhelmed. Cristiano Ronaldo's absence wasn't helping either.
At the 16th, Ángel Di María had a chance to seal the win for his team on a penalty. The Argentine took the shot but a brilliant Weidenfeller made the save. This single play changed everything for both teams. It worked as much as goal for Dortmund, who now had a lot of momentum going their way.
Just a couple minutes later, Dortmund's momentum became evident on a brilliant play by Reus inside the box in which he left Mkhitaryan open in front of the goal. The Armenian's shot went just a bit wide to the left, but it was a warning of what was about to happen.
That momentum for Dortmund translated into ridiculous nerves for Madrid. Pepe made a horrendous mistake trying head a ball backwards towards his own box on what was nothing more than a routine play. Reus took the gift from the Portuguese defender, got past a desperate Casillas and made it 1-0.
Needless to say, Dortmund were now looking really dangerous. They had a goal on their side and Real Madrid looked way too nervous. Ramos got booked at the 27th so things weren't looking good for Madrid. To make things worse, Benzema had a great chance on a counter but he fell down as he was trying to control the ball. That play sums up Madrid's first half.
At the 36th, things reached a new low for the white team. Illarramendi followed Pepe's example and unbelievably lost the ball near midfield. Lewandowski's shot hit the post (after a great deflection by Casillas) but Reus was there for the rebound and had no problem sending it inside the net. 2-0.
After Dortmund's second goal, Real Madrid just looked frightened and were pretty much hiding inside their own territory, waiting for the first half to be over. Coincidentally, the end of the first half was Madrid's brightest moment of the first 45 minutes.
The start of the second half was better. Bale took a shot from outside the box but Weidenfeller was there to save his goal again. While still far from perfect, at least there was some intensity from Ancelotti's men. They weren't waiting like they did for the first 45 minutes. Isco, who replaced Illarra during halftime, played a big part in this. Madrid were at least touching the ball again.
Bale had another chance at the 58th minute. He got past two defenders near the corner of the field, got inside the box but his shot went wide. Benzema was just a couple steps away from reach. The French had a chance of his own just moments later. He got past Weidenfeller outside the box but Hummels recovered in time.
Just when Real Madrid was looking good, a great counter orchestrated by Reus left Mkhitaryan wide open entering the box. He got past Casillas but his shot hit the post. At least Madrid had some luck on their side now.
After that breathtaking miss by Mkhitaryan, Casillas made two brilliant saves in just a couple minutes on great chances by Dortmund inside the box.
With 15 minutes remaining, nerves were now getting to both teams. Weidenfeller, much like Casillas, also saved his team on a great shot by Benzema. Bale wasted two brilliant chances in the final minutes.
It was as if Real Madrid just wouldn't have it their tonight. And yet they did.The end thankfully arrived without a lot of drama or controversy.
A brilliant first half wouldn't be enough for Borussia Dortmund, who were now feeling just as crushed as Real Madrid did last year.
It was nice of Carlo Ancelotti to adjust properly. Isco and Casemiro played a great role in the second half. The last ten minutes weren't good for Dortmund. The nerves remained, but Real Madrid was closer to scoring than the home team. Not having Ronaldo was sure a challenge for the Italian coach too.
Make no mistake though, a very inferior Borussia Dortmund made Los Merengues suffer mightily. If this team wants to get to the finals and eventually win the Champions League, they have to improve dramatically. That first half was atrocious. a brilliant couple saves by Iker Casillas and a post kept Dortmund from scoring a third goal. The GK was great tonight and he still allowed two goals. This team needs to show some focus on big games this season.
It wasn't pretty or fun or even enjoyable. It was a very painful game for everyone involved, but what better way to get some revenge than giving Dortmund the exact same heart break they gave Real Madrid last year?
On to the semifinals!