Dortmund not quite ready to throw in the towel

Borussia Dortmund retains a small glimmer of hope of overcoming a 3-0 Champions League quarterfinal deficit heading into this week’s home leg, despite last week’s mauling in Madrid.

In order to progress to the semifinals, Dortmund must better their magical 4-1 win at home over Real nearly 12 months ago when Polish striker Robert Lewandowski notched all four goals.

I remember that game well, as every goal led to a heavier ‘Bierdusche’ (a shower of beer) amid the tightly packed crowd, even in the supposed sanctuary of the press seating. My laptop never really survived that trip to Westphalia, but the memories were more than worth it.

Lewandowski was suspended for the first leg and sorely missed. BVB will pin hopes of retrieving the tie on the Polish forward coming up big once again against his ‘favourite’ opponent. Last year, ‘Lewi’ fired five goals against the Spanish giants over two home meetings.

Real will have fond memories of their last trip to Germany, a thumping 6-1 win up the road in Gelsenkirchen just a few weeks ago, with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo both running rampant against an overmatched Schalke 04 side. Hardly anybody is expecting a Dortmund comeback, so BVB have absolutely nothing to lose. Further, the underdog role is one the home side normally relishes. The legendary home support (‘Yellow Wall’) is sure to have an impact, especially should the black-yellows gain some early momentum. Ronaldo is struggling with injury and is unlikely to be risked.

For those who believe Madrid’s semifinal spot is already safely booked, let’s not forget Dortmund’s memorable quarterfinal success last term against Malaga CF. Dortmund trailed the Spanish upstarts 2-1 (both on the night and, due to a scoreless draw in Spain, on aggregate) with only the announced four minutes of stoppage time remaining. Last-gasp goals from Marco Reus and Felipe Santana completed an amazing turnaround (inspiring another Bierdusche!) as Dortmund came back from the brink of a compeition exit right at the death.

Further crumbs of comfort can be inspired from Manchester United and Bayern Munich also resuming their rivalry in Munich this week. We shouldn’t forget United’s dramatic late turnaround over Bayern in the 1999 Champions League Final in Barcelona. “Football, bloody hell,” observed Sir Alex Ferguson moments after United rewrote history. Undoubtedly, Dortmund’s last-gasp win over Malaga was effervescent coach Jürgen Klopp’s ‘Fergie moment,’ as Dortmund proceeded all the way to the final before succumbing to their Bavarian rivals.

German winger Marco Reus is nearing top form again, scoring the match-winner against Wolfsburg at the weekend. Reus, a long-time Manchester United target, said “we haven’t given up yet.”

Read more from Mark Lovell at his site here.

Header courtesy of Marius Hoffmann

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Mark Lovell

Mark is an English freelance bilingual writer, living and working in Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Interact via Email or follow me on twitter @LovellLowdown and check out my site at www.lovelllowdown.com

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