Even before kick-off, it was a high octane atmosphere in the Westalenstadion, but when the game got under way, Borussia Dortmund raised the bar even more, and Robert Lewandowski introduced himself introduced himself to the world stage with a virtuoso performance that has probably added a further £10million to his transfer fee – and he looks worth every last penny.
When Real Madrid were drawn against Dortmund, their fans probably felt that the luck had favoured them, Even as the Madrid players trotted out for a warm up on the pitch, the cascades of yellow tumbling around the stadium couldn’t alert them to what was in store. An early goal would quieten the crowd, they probably thought, perhaps settle for a score draw, and finish the job in Madrid and move on to the final. Unfortunately, no-one had told the young Dortmund team and their iconic manager, Jurgen Klopp of the script. Or if someone had tried to, the noise around the stadium probably meant that they couldn’t hear it.
From the off, the pace and teamwork of the Germans disrupted the rhythm of Real. Seemingly in a consistently higher gear, they hustled and hassled until, when with no surprise they opened the scoring. A wicked cross from the left was whipped in, and Lewandowski pounced to put Dortmund ahead. Amazingly, it served to increase the volume and excitement amongst the crowd to an even higher intensity.
Then, just before the break, a poor touch by Hummels, gifted an equaliser, and it seemed that Madrid would have punctured the balloon of Dortmund’s belief. Not a bit of it.
The second half started much as the first, power, pace and positivity from Dortmund, overpowering the individuality of Madrid’s play. A clever piece of control from Lewandowski, a quick turn and the lead was restored. Even better was to follow. A few minutes later, a cross shot arrowed across the box, and with svelte ease, he caressed the ball under his spell, a quick roll back, a murderous finish and it was 3-1.
The potential coup de grace arrived with a fairly uncontroversial penalty. With Lewandowski on the spot, there was little doubt that the net would ripple. In fact it nearly exploded with the power of the Pole’s shot. 4-1, and it’s a mountain for Madrid.
Great praise must go to Jurgen Klopp, the individually eccentric Dortmund manager, with a ‘low wage, young age’ policy, he has turned Borussia Dortmund into a team of outstanding talent combined with a teamwork ethic that oozes class. An all-German final is now substantially favourite for the Wembley showdown, and although Lewandowski was the star of the show, the mountain was constructed by the work ethic that ran throughout the team. Madrid are certainly capable of scoring enough goals to turn this tie around, but whether they can prevent Dortmund – and particularly Lewandowski - netting as well is an entirely different story. Personally, it’s a game that I’m looking forward to immensely.