Borussia Dortmund are on their way to Wembley but only just. Jürgen Klopp’s side rode out an opening storm and a late, late siege to reach the final on May 25. Just when it appeared that their passage would prove a comfortable one, two goals in the final eight minutes, first from Karim Benzema and then from Sergio Ramos, left them hanging on. “I thought if God wills it, we’ll go to the final; if he doesn’t, we won’t,” Klopp said of the final heart-stopping minutes.
In the end they made it. A 2-0 defeat, Dortmund’s first in four matches against Madrid, was not enough to deny them a trip to London that Klopp said was “absolutely deserved”.
He had a point: Dortmund appeared to be cruising to the finish line while Madrid limped behind them. Gonzalo Higuaín, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil all missed clear opportunities in a breathless start as Madrid looked to overcome the 4-1 deficit from the first leg. But the momentum was lost and the game appeared to be drifting to a close until Benzema’s goal set up a dramatic finish.
Dortmund could have ended it at the start of the second half but Lewandowski wasted two chances in as many minutes.
Madrid needed three goals but Dortmund, calm when they won the ball back. Or so it seemed until, with only eight minutes remaining, Ozil finally escaped down the right. He pulled the ball back into the six-yard box, where Benzema was waiting to side-foot home.
Suddenly there was a roar that became a bugle call for the charge. The noise was back and so was the siege, the ball thrown into the area, bodies flying. And, when the ball dropped to Benzema near the right-hand byline moments later, he coolly pulled it back for Sergio Ramos, who smashed it into the roof of the net.
It was the 89th minute and now they needed only one. Bender went down injured; when he got up, the board went up. Madrid had five minutes left to pull off a miracle. Hearts were in mouths until the referee, Howard Webb, put the whistle to his.