Dortmund Holds Off Real Madrid to Reach Champions League Final
Goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos in the final seven minutes last night gave Real a 2-0 win at the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid. It wasn’t enough though to overturn a 4-1 Dortmund advantage from the opener of the two-match semifinal last week in Germany.
Dortmund will face German champion Bayern Munich or Barcelona in the final of Europe’s elite club competition May 25 at Wembley Stadium in London. Bayern takes a 4-0 lead into its second game tonight in Spain.
“They put a lot of pressure on us,” Dortmund midfielder Kevin Grosskruetz said on the website of tournament organizer UEFA. “However, we are a great club and deserved to go through. I haven’t thought about Wembley yet. Let’s celebrate now and think about the final tomorrow.”
Dortmund’s only other final appearance came 16 years ago when it beat Juventus 3-1. Real Madrid, which has won the European Cup a record nine times, lost in the semifinals for the third straight year.
Needing at least three goals to advance, Madrid held 59 percent of possession and had a 21-7 shot advantage without managing to score until Benzema’s goal in the 83rd minute. Dortmund hung on after Ramos added a second five minutes later.
“My players have given everything,” Real coach Jose Mourinho said on UEFA’s website. “If we had scored earlier, we would have had a chance. The fans believed until the end, but we didn’t make it.”
Real wasted two early chances as Gonzalo Higuain was stopped by goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller after being sent through in the fourth minute and Cristiano Ronaldo shot wide.
Robert Lewandowski, who scored all the goals in Dortmund’s opening win, was then stopped by Diego Lopez and Ronaldo sent a volley straight at Weidenfeller at the other end.
Dortmund’s star midfielder Mario Goetze came off injured in the 14th minute and was replaced by Grosskreutz. Mesut Ozil fired wide after getting behind the defense as Real was unable to turn a 9-2 advantage in shots in the first half into goals.
Lewandowski shot over goal after being set up early in the 49th minute, then drilled a ball off the underside of the crossbar on a Dortmund counterattack moments later.
Mourinho went to his bench in the 57th minute, bringing on Benzema and Kaka for Higuain and Fabio Coentrao. Lopez kept Real alive by stopping Ilkay Gundogan, who was left alone six yards (5.5 meters) out, and Lewandowski headed wide.
Ronaldo put Real’s first shot of the second half over the goal in the 70th minute and Kaka sent a volley wide. Benzema finally broke through with seven minutes left when he directed in Ozil’s cross.
Weidenfeller then caught a header from Ramos and tipped another shot over for a corner kick. Ramos pulled Real within a goal of reaching the final when he fired a shot into the roof of the net with two minutes remaining.
Ramos put a header wide in stoppage time and Dortmund was able to see out the match to keep the prospect of an all-German final in line.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at email@example.com.