In a time before José Mourinho discovered all the world's problems could be blamed on Luke Shaw, the Portuguese manager gave a rare unbiased and accurate assessment of a game in which his team had not only lost, but been humbled. 

"They were the better side by far. They won their individual battles. They were better organised than us, they were better physically and better mentally."

Champions League - Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Jürgen Klopp's vibrant, dynamic, pressing machine Borussia Dortmund had Real Madrid by the throat from the first whistle of their Champions League semi-final as Robert Lewandowski wrestled free of Pepe to turn in a Mario Götze cross from the left flank in just the eighth minute. 

However. On the stroke of half time, after a Dortmund penalty appeal was waved away, Gonzalo Higuaín capitalised on a rare mistake from Mats Hummels at the back to square the ball for an unmarked ​Cristiano Ronaldo to snaffle up an equaliser. 

Dortmund didn't let that unsettle them – charging out in the second half, with Lewandowski grabbing his second, third and fourth of the night by the 67th minute. That 22-minute barrage did the damage, and Real never recovered. 

Borussia Dortmund

Key Talking Point

This game served as one of the most emphatic examples of the effectiveness of Klopp's pressing style. 

Ronaldo had been forced to dribble the ball out on the left sideline inside the first minute, pursued by two ​Dortmund players. Still with less than 60 seconds on the clock, Luka Modrić had been hounded down and turned over possession, while the normally unflappable Xabi Alonso had spooned the ball out of play under pressure. 

Ilkay Guendogan,Luka Modric,Marco Reus,Xabi Alonso

Lewandowski's goals may have stolen the headlines, but Ilkay Gündoğan was equally integral that night, dictating play, pushing up aggressively to press and then driving forward after a turnover, as the Germany international epitomised Dortmund's approach. 

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Weidenfeller (7); Piszczek (6), Subotic (7), Hummels (5), Schmelzer (7); Bender (7), Gündoğan (9); Reus (8), Götze (8), Blaszczykowski (7); Lewandowski (10*).

Subs: Kehl (6), Großkreutz (6), Schieber (N/A).

Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski became only the third player to score four goals in Champions League knockout tie (with Josip Iličić – after his haul against Valencia in March – the only person to join the Pole since), after Mario Gomez and, of course, ​Lionel Messi (twice). 

Every time the ball entered the penalty area within the width of the posts, it was if Lewandowski knew where it would bounce before it had arrived. 

Even the striker's simplest goal of the night, a penalty for his fourth, was impressive; almost taking the cover off the ball when he ripped it down the middle as Diego Lopez dove out of the way more for his own safety than anything else. 

Real Madrid

Key Talking Point

Mourinho's ​Madrid looked like a team from the past as this modern, futuristic force of nature swarmed them from all angles. 

This Madrid side, who had stormed to the Spanish league title the year before – breaking the records for points and goals scored by almost perfecting the art of the counter-attack – could hardly get out from the back. When they did, Dortmund invariably pressured them into a quick robbery and were off again. 

Champions League - Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Mourinho's side eventually had to resort to aimless long balls to avoid the press and while they staged some sort of resistance in the latter stages of each half, the result was more than fair. 

Player Ratings

Starting XI: López (6); Ramos (6), Varane (7), Pepe (5), Coentrão (7); Khedira (6), Alonso (5); Özil (5), Modric (6), Ronaldo (7); Higuaín (6).

Subs: Benzema (6), Ángel Di María (6), Kaká (6).

Xabi Alonso


For a player synonymous with a cool head and neat passing game, coming up against this 'heavy metal' football was particularly difficult for Xabi Alonso. His was dispossessed three times that night as part of an overwhelmed two-man pivot alongside Sami Khedira. 

Admittedly, the Spaniard had been given an incredibly difficult task in tracking Gündoğan's tirades from deep and somehow containing the effervescent Marco Reus who, unlike his teammates, never tired throughout the match. 

Things That Aged the Worst

Mario Götze provided the first assist on the night and was impressive throughout, as he had been since establishing himself in the first team in 2010. 

However, from Dortmund's perspective, he had been too impressive. The day before this semi-final first leg it was announced that arch-rivals ​Bayern Munich had signed the 21-year-old for £31.5m. 


Despite his obvious talent, Götze was never really able to find his feet in Bavaria. After three injury-riddled seasons with Bayern, he was back in black and yellow but is yet to rediscover those illuminating performances fans enjoyed at the turn of the decade. The man scored the winner in a World Cup final, for goodness sake.

Things That Aged the Best

Iker Casillas

Eight of the Real Madrid players which featured in this first leg humbling started the final the following year, which ended their long wait for the club's fabled tenth European Cup, La Decima

The same core group of players would then claim a hat-trick of Champions League trophies between 2015 and 2018, thriving after the curse had seemingly been lifted. 

Players You Completely Forgot Existed

Amongst this all-star Champions League semi-final clash, there aren't many players who featured that night lost in the fog of time. However, the name Kevin Großkreutz is one that may have understandably slipped away.  


The workmanlike left-sided midfielder wasn't the most glamorous player but was pivotal in Dortmund's pressing system as tucked in from the flank to narrow the pitch, compressing the space. 

What Happened Next? 

Marco Reus

Real Madrid rallied in the second leg to win 2-0 in the Spanish capital, but it wasn't enough to stop Dortmund reaching the final. There they would meet their Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich, who had swept aside Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate, signalling the shift of European footballing power from Spain to Germany for...ooh, all of 12 months.

Dortmund lost 2-1 at Wembley, as Arjen Robben rolled the winner past Roman Weidenfeller in the 89th minute to clinch Bayern's historic treble in gut-wrenching fashion for Klopp's side.