UEFA Champions League: Borussia Dortmund 4 Real Madrid 1
By Football News
Robert Lewandowski hit all four goals as Borussia Dortmund put one foot in the door of the UEFA Champions League final with a huge win over Real Madrid at the Westfalenstadion on Wednesday.
The Pole had given his side the lead before Cristiano Ronaldo's effort handed the visitors a potentially vital away goal, but Lewandowski struck three times after half-time to seal a memorable victory.
Mario Gotze started for the hosts, despite the announcement of his imminent move to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, while Jose Mourinho played the XI that he had named in his pre-match press conference, with Diego Lopez continuing in goal.
Dortmund started quickly and almost took the lead in the seventh minute as Marco Reus picked the ball up in his own half and zoomed towards goal, nipping past Raphael Varane before clipping a low effort that Lopez clawed away, while Lewandowski was unable to capitalise.
However, the Dortmund number nine was on hand in the very next minute as Ilkay Gundogan found Gotze on the left and the 20-year-old curled a sumptuous right-footed ball into the area that Lewandowski tucked home from close range.
Ronaldo thundered a free-kick at Roman Weidenfeller as Mourinho's side looked to get back into the tie, but they were often thwarted by their hosts. With time running out in the half, Dortmund were incensed as Reus got past Varane again inside the box and tumbled under the Frenchman's challenge, but no penalty was awarded by the referee. The home players were still aggrieved as Madrid took the ball up the other end and snatched an equaliser.
Mats Hummels appeared to have cut out an attack down the Madrid right but badly hit a weak back-pass under pressure from Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentine racing onto the ball and squaring for Ronaldo to tuck home.
Despite losing the lead so close to half-time, Dortmund showed no sign of their disappointment and came out fighting in the second half, getting their reward in the 50th minute. Lewandowski managed to control a shot on goal from outside, neatly turn and poke past Lopez, much to the outrage of Madrid's defenders who felt the Pole was offside. Just four minutes later, Lewandowski completed his hat-trick and sent the 65,000-strong home crowd wild.
Again, the Polish international showed his class as he controlled a loose ball which had been fizzed into the box, turned neatly away from Varane and fired into the roof of the net.
By this point Dortmund were rampant and could have gone 4-1 up on 61 minutes when Gundogan forced an excellent save from Lopez after good work to manufacture a shooting opportunity on the edge of the box.
Things got even better for the German side on 65 minutes. Gotze played Reus into the area who controlled the ball into the air, but was bundled over in the box by Xabi Alonso for a penalty. Lewandowski stepped up and emphatically made it four, crashing the ball down the middle of goal.
Weidenfeller was called into a brave late save at Ronaldo's feet, while Varane lashed an effort wide in stoppage time to preserve the three-goal advantage, with Jurgen Klopp's side likely to face Bayern Munich if they reach the final, after their Bundesliga rivals destroyed Barcelona 4-0 on Tuesday.