History was made
Well... Where do I start? It's been a couple of hours after the final whistle now and I don't know how to understand what happened during the last minutes of the Champions League quarter final against Málaga on Tuesday. It has been a miracle and I have never witnessed anything like that in person before. It is a new La Coruna and I am happy that I was there. My children will hate me for this story because I will tell them all over and over and over again how we managed to make it to the semi finals until they will be able to tell their children about it. Like I said, I don't know where to start writing about this match, but I will try my very best to give an overview about the miracle of Dortmund which is so much more than just winning a championship.
Before the match
The goalless draw in Málaga one week before was a dangerous result. Borussia needed to win this one and another draw would either mean extra time or being out of competition without losing one single match. However, Dortmund won every home match in this year's Champions League competition, so even though the result was risky, one could be optimistic to make it to the semi finals for the first time since 1998. In terms of the line-up, two changes were made to the squad that played in La Rosaleda. Kehl and Großkreutz were back on the bench, replaced by Kuba and Bender. Furthermore, Mats Hummels was back in the squad once again even though he did not made the starting eleven. Felipe Santana and Neven Subotic formed the inner defense and well... not to spoil anything, but... Santana later became the hero of the night. Málaga on the other side had to replace Iturra and Weligton because of their bookings in the competition.
When the teams entered the famous Westfalenstadion, the Südtribüne presented another impressive choreography. The whole stand was filled with black and yellow papers, forming the Champions League trophy and a face with binoculars showed that we are looking for that trophy. A banner underlined that impression by stating "On the search for the lost trophy". It was really a great display and I guess it is not arrogant to say that things like these show that Dortmund should play in the Champions League regularly. So everything was set for a great night, the players and the fans were motivated and during the first minutes of the game, the entire stadium was standing and supporting the Ballspielverein. Goosebumps all the way!
Over the whole 90 minutes, you have to applaud the team of Málaga for playing extremely disciplined in their defensive lines. They had a very clear and very smart structure with good shifts so Borussia had problems finding empty areas or free players on the pitch. However, Robert Lewandowski who scored ten times in a row in the Bundesliga recently, had the first opportunity of the match-up by trying to lob the goal over Málaga's keeper Willy but missed the goal for a couple of inches after sixteen minutes. A first good try for our Borussia, but it should be the last one for a period of time which felt like a lifetime because in minute 25, Málaga scored the lead after a couple of mistakes in Dortmund's defense which was then used by Joaquín whose shot from the penalty area was well placed in the left corner of the goal. Weidenfeller saw the ball late and therefore had no chance to save it. 0-1 and Joaquín had nothing else to do than provoking the whole stadium by celebrating in front of the Südtribüne and turning the whole stadium against him. I will never understand why things like that have to happen especially because Joaquín was not provoked by the fans before. However, that did not change the result and therefore, Dortmund desperately needed to turn this thing around completely. From this moment forward, it was clear that we needed to win the match in order to advance to the semi finals. You could feel that the players knew about that as well because combined with the mentioned tactical defending of Málaga, they had problems to get opportunities. However, shortly before half time, a brilliant play led to the equalizer. It was typical Dortmund offense when Piszczek gained possession of the ball and then, everything happened very fast. Götze passed the ball from the right to Marco Reus who extended the assist with his heel (a brilliant move which got an extra round of applause when it was shown again during half time) to Robert Lewandowski and our Polish striker showed all his class, overran the defense and keeper Willy and scored into the empty net. 39th minute, 1-1, everything still possible even though Borussia needed one more goal. But before BVB could get another opportunity to score, the last chance of the first half belonged to the Spanish guests. Over the entire match, they were extremely dangerous after standards and one of those standards – this time a free kick by Duda – led to Joaquín heading the ball with no competition onto the goal, but thanks to a great reaction by Roman Weidenfeller, the 1-1 remained the half time result.
The second half started just in the same way like the first half ended. Free kick, header and an even greater save by Weidenfeller. This time, Demichelis (former Bayern player) assisted Joaquín and his header would have been the lead 9 out of 10 times, but this time, Weidenfeller was there for the rescue. What a save. But the other goalkeeper, Willy did not want to step back behind Weidenfeller's performance and therefore rescued two impossible balls. First, a cross from the right side found Marco Reus whose shot found the goalkeeper of the away team (76th) and just two minutes later, Willy saved against Mario Götze who found himself through the defense of the blue and whites but was not able to score the lead. Standing on the Südtribüne during these moments, I was desperate. After Willy had proven his qualities in the first leg away in Spain, he did the same in Dortmund and seemed to be the reason why Dortmund could not make it to the round of the last four. Things even got worse in minute 82 when Málaga finished a (and I am not happy to say so) very good counter attack. Baptista eventually assisted Eliseu who scored into the empty net. However, he was offside during the pass so that the goal should not have been awarded. Luckily, it did not matter in the end anyway. But since I did not know that at this time, I just felt empty. I saw the Spains celebrating, saw our players down. The whole Westfalenstadion was quiet at this time and most of the people thought that these were the final minutes of Borussia's impressive Champions League run 2012/2013. Some supporters even left the stadium (haha, shame on you, you totally deserve to miss those last minutes). And even though I did not believe that we will turn the match around, the Südtribüne tried to push the team forwards. What followed was the most impressive injury time in my entire life. Again, it is hard to put that into words so I will try to focus on the two goals first. Hummels got into the game. One minute into injury time, a long pass got into the penalty area where Subotic passed the leather aside to Felipe Santana who could not manage to get the ball into the net because he was tackled by a defender. Marco Reus, however, stormed from behind and scored the equalizer with three more minutes to go. Some hope could be felt in the Westfalenstadion again and the stands exploded for the first time. "BORUSSIA! BORUSSIA!" chants were heard all over the pitch and Borussia continued. And when another long ball found Mario Götze, his shot was deflected and a combination of Julian Schieber and Felipe Santana somehow brought the ball into the goal (however off-side). Adrenaline was all over my body. The whole stadium exploded for another time. I celebrated with my friends amd with total foreigners and just can't help to find tears in my face. While I was screaming out all of my joy, all my excitement, tears filled my eyes because I could not believe what I witnessed during those last minutes of the match. And after the final whistle, I was finished. I will never ever forget this match and so will all the supporters of Borussia.
Wow. This match just proved why I love Borussia Dortmund. The netradio of Borussia stated just after the final whistle that the best club in the world advanced to the Champions League semi finals and I could not disagree with them. The officials of Málaga later complained about the referee but the Scotsman made two wrong decisions, one on each side and honestly: This is football. I can not imagine how a defeat of this kind has to feel but being a bad loser is not the way I imagined Málaga to be. However, I just don't need to care because Borussia is in the final four. Like stated before, I will never forget this match and I have difficulties understanding what happened a bit more than 24 hours ago. This match was history and I am happy to be part of it. If my kids will read this article at a later point in history: I am sorry, but I just have to tell you this story over and over again. This night was legendary and Borussia made it possible one more time. Just when you think you have seen everything of spectacular games and big victories over the last years, there is another match which proves you wrong. Thank you, Borussia. Thank you.
Legends of Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Santana, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Bender - Blaszczykowski, Götze, Reus – Lewandowski
Subs: Schieber and Sahin for Kuba and Bender (72nd), Hummels for Gündogan (86th)
Málaga C.F.: Caballero - Gámez, Sanchez, Demichelis, Antunes - Duda, Camacho, Toulalan, Isco - Joaquín, Baptista
Subs: Eliseu for Duda (74th), Santa Cruz for Baptista (83rd), Portillo for Joaquín (87th)
Goals: 0-1 Joaquín (25th), 1-1 Lewandowski (39th), 1-2 Eliseu (82nd), 2-2 Reus (90+1st), 3-2 Santana (90+3rd)
Referee: Thomson (Scotland)
Bookings: Bender, Schmelzer – Gámez, Toulalan
Attendance: 65.829 (sold-out Westfalenstadion)