With only stoppage time to play, Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League campaign looked over at this stage last season. Trailing Malaga 2-1 at Signal Iduna Park after a goalless draw in the first leg, Jurgen Klopp’s men needed to score twice to progress to the semi-finals. It looked an insurmountable task but then Marco Reus slotted home in the 91st minute and Felipe Santana prodded an admittedly fortuitous winner less than 120 seconds later to complete a remarkable comeback.
Dortmund, and the charismatic Klopp, impressed many on their route to last season’s final, combining a fluid and aesthetically pleasing style with the dogged attitude and spirit that underpinned the Malaga fairy tale and the subsequent victory over Real Madrid in the last four. They have found it harder this season, blighted by injury and the departure of Mario Gotze. In fact, only four of the players - Roman Weidenfeller, Mats Hummels, Lukasz Piszczek and Marco Reus - that started the semi-final second leg just under a year ago began last Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Estadio Bernabeu.
One positive for Dortmund is that Robert Lewandowski returns from suspension on Tuesday night. The Polish striker has netted six Champions League goals so far this campaign and scored four times in last season’s 4-1 win over Madrid.
While Real are overwhelming favourites to progress, they won’t have forgotten what happened in Dortmund last April. Carlo Ancelotti’s team look stronger now than they did then and, while Dotrmund had to come from behind to win at the weekend, Madrid stayed in the hunt for the La Liga title with a comprehensive 4-0 success at Real Sociedad.
Real look irresistible going forward - scoring 32 times in nine Champions League games this season. Cristiano Ronaldo has contributed 14 of those and was on target last week too. Dortmund perhaps deserved a goal in Madrid but Real were the better side. It is going to take some turnaround if Klopp's men are to reach the last four again.
KICK-OFF: Tuesday, 7.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Real Madrid 3 (Bale, Isco, Ronaldo) Dortmund 0, Champions League, April 2, 2014
Real Madrid 2 (Benzema, Ramos) Dortmund 0, Champions League, April 30, 2013
Dortmund 4 (Lewandowski 4) Real Madrid 1 (Ronaldo), Champions League, April 23, 2013
Dortmund have won eight of 13 European two-legged ties in which they lost the first leg away from home - but have never overturned a three-goal deficit.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer in the Champions League this season (14). One more will be a record in a single season.
Dortmund have scored in 10 of their last 13 Champions League games but have failed to score against Madrid in their last two meetings.
Robert Lewandowski struck four times when Real Madrid last visited Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund have won only four of their last 12 home games.
Dortmund to win: 3.20
Real Madrid to win: 2.15
Real Madrid 2-0 Borussia Dortmund, April 30, 2013
This was the most painful of victories for Madrid. Trailing 4-1 after the first leg thanks to the brilliance of four-goal Robert Lewandowski, Jose Mourinho’s team needed to score at least three times were they to have any chance of reaching the final. Dortmund held out stubbornly for 82 minutes until Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos scored in quick succession to set up a nervy finish. Ramos went close in injury time but Dortmund survived and took their place in an all-German final against Bayern Munich.
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