First Bayern Munich, now Borussia Dortmund. Barcelona fell on Tuesday; 24 hours later Real Madrid fell in a manner so similar, so comprehensive, as to further fuel suggestions that the European balance of power has moved north. For a second successive night a Spanish giant conceded four goals in Germany.
Madrid at least scored an away goal, giving them the kind of hope for the second leg that Barcelona were denied, but an incredible four-goal display from Robert Lewandowski did for them. Even his simplest goal, a penalty, was taken with the kind of authority that astonished.
Madrid, like Barcelona the night before, could have few complaints: this Dortmund victory was richly deserved. José Mourinho's side might even be considered fortunate to have got a goal at all, coming from virtually their only clear chance and gifted to them by Mats Hummels just before half-time.
"It is obvious that the best team won," Madrid's coach conceded. His team were out-powered and outplayed, Dortmund's win being clinched with similar pace and precision, energy and efficiency, as the previous night's Germany-Spain clash. That swarm of red had turned yellow and black.
Not even the terrible timing of Mario Götze's signing for Bayern Munich could derail Dortmund, although there may be a tinge of sadness when it is considered that the team's brilliance on this stage may hasten its dismantling. But on Wednesday night that did not matter. And it all started with a wonderful Goetze delivery, too, a swirling right-foot cross from the left that found Lewandowski dashing in towards the far post.
Lewandowski wrestled free off Pepe and launched himself at the ball to volley it into the net. The game was only eight minutes in but it was not their first chance. Two minutes earlier Sami Khedira had been robbed and Marco Reus was soon racing through, as he would be often.
He brought a sharp save from Diego López and the rebound dropped just too wide for Lewandowski to be able to turn it towards goal.
There was a collective speed about Dortmund that was breathtaking. Madrid struggled to get out from the back and, when they did, it felt like they were walking into a trap. A quick robbery and Dortmund were off again, the noise rising in the stadium as they advanced. Their transitions were swift and frightening, Madrid's space closed down in numbers.
Klopp said: "This will go down in the club's history books. I hope soon they will show a film in the club's museum of the goals by Lewandowski tonight but that will only happen if we win on Tuesday (May 1, second leg of the semifinal.)” GNS