There will be a yellow wall at Wembley on 25 May after Borussia Dortmund made it to the European Cup final leaving Jose Mourinho a beaten semi-finalist for the third season running.
Dortmund's supporters can book their flights to London - some of them will have done so after the first leg such is the confidence that seems to surround Jürgen Klopp's team - but how that belief was tested in a dramatic finale.
Mourinho had demanded no repeat of the “friendly” he said his side had given the Germans in the first leg. There was certainly fight from Madrid and when Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos scored inside the last 10 minutes Dortmund almost buckled.
But as Mourinho embraced Klopp on the final whistle it was to congratulate him on a mission accomplished. Dortmund, as their coach had promised, had not frozen.
“Of course not!” said an elated Klopp afterwards when asked if he had been to Wembley before. “I have seen the Wimbledon tennis a few times. But going to Wembley will be one of the greatest days of my life. We will not be the favourites whoever we face but that is just perfect for us. And I can assure you, we will not be going as tourists.”
In truth Dortmund made hard work of finishing off Real. Striker Robert Lewandowski scored four in the first leg - he should have matched that in the second and the misses could have proved costly as the home side rallied with two late goals.
With “Yes we can” echoing around the stadium from the supporters Madrid took just 58 seconds to force their first corner. On four minutes came their first chance when Luka Modric played in Gonzalo Higuain and Roman Weidenfeller saved at close range. Di Maria then set up Cristiano Ronaldo who snatched at his first chance blasting wide.
On 12 minutes Dortmund had their first opening but Lewandowski was foiled by Diego Lopez and so the trading of blows continued. It was physical too, with Michael Essien clattering into Lewandowski and Mario Götze hobbing off with hamstring trouble.
Fabio Coentrao rolled his studs down Lewandowski's leg and was booked and it seemed Mourinho's pre-match message about the Polish striker having been allowed to scored four in the first leg without receiving a single foul had sunk in.
Ramos should have been booked for a forearm into Lewandowski's face. “He seemed to be allowed to do what he wanted,” complained Klopp with some justification.
There was another “Yes we can' cry from the stadium announcer at half time but it was met this time with silence. Coming back from 4-1 down was one thing but doing it all in 45 minutes would surely be impossible.
Lewandowski rattled the bar five minutes into the second period and as the ball came down on to the goal-line and spun away for a corner Mourinho called Karim Benzema and Kaka to strip off and come on.
Real felt they should have had a free-kick on the edge of the area when the ball hit Mats Hummels' hand as he went to ground. Referee Howard Webb waved away appeals and Mourinho was stopped by fourth official Stephen Child from taking his complaint directly to Klopp.
”Hummels should have gone for the hand ball on the edge of the area“ said Mourinho. He [Webb] was not a referee but a man and he should have been a referee first and a man second.”
It would have been hard on Hummels. He had led Dortmund's resistance - a resistance that finally crumbled on 83 minutes when Benzema shot past Weidenfeller. Suddenly the '“Yes we can” could be heard loud and clear once more and when with three minutes left Ramos smashed the ball into the roof of the net Real were suddenly just a goal from Wembley. But the goal never came.
“We started well with intensity but the quicker you score the first goal the better it is,” said Mourinho. Asked if he would feel regret leaving Madrid not having won the Champions League with another nod to a summer exit he said: “Everyone who has been at this club, even for one day will say, it has been worth it.”
Man of the match Hummels.
Match rating 8/10.
Referee H Webb (S Yorkshire).
Attendance 76,000.Reuse content