In the end the drama was too much for Hans-Joachim Watzke. In the final minutes, as Real Madrid were surging forward in search of a goal that would destroy Borussia Dortmund's dreams, the German club's chief executive quietly left his seat at the Bernabéu and locked himself in the toilet.
He could not bear to watch and he could not bear to listen. "For the first time in my life I had to stop watching, my heart couldn't take it," he said after Dortmund's nerve-shredding 4-3 aggregate win over Real to reach the Champions League final. "I went to the toilet, locked myself in and covered my ears."
Even Jürgen Klopp, the perma-grinning Dortmund manager and new darling of the football world, looked rattled towards the end, after goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos had taken Real to within one goal of making the final. After the game, however, he was quick to swat away any euphoria and speak matter-of-factly about how his Dortmund had performed. "If we hadn't won, I would have said our side should have been smarter. There were aspects of our game which weren't good. We'll analyse and learn from the game."
Klopp being Klopp, however, added: "Of course the players can go out and have a drink tonight. I am not a muppet. They deserve it. And I gather that Nuri Sahin knows where to go in Madrid. It would be sick not to enjoy this moment."
When the hangovers are gone, however, the focus will shift to 25 May and Wembley for the final. Dortmund were outstanding at home against Real but reduced to nervous wrecks incapable of holding on to the ball for the last 10 minutes in the Spanish capital. Klopp knows this and he will learn from this. In a way, it could be said that Tuesday night's result was the perfect outcome for Dortmund.
They now know they have the resilience to withstand the most brutal pressure imaginable on a football pitch but they are also not going to Wembley over-confident which, if the second leg had finished goalless or in a narrow victory for the German side, could have been a problem.
Klopp will also, surely, tell his players that if they ever find themselves in a similar position, they cannot be so naïve and give away possession quite so easily. There was a moment, after 93 minutes, when Jakub Blaszczykowski, a Polish international with 60 caps, ran down the right and, without hesitation, tried a risky cut-back which failed to reach Marco Reus. Within two seconds of the move breaking down, Real Madrid were in Dortmund's half, launching their own attack.
A minute later, Ilkay Gündogan found himself with space in the Madrid half but instead of keeping hold of the ball, he tried to ping it crossfield to Lukasz Piszczek who, exhausted, failed to reach the ball. Again, the young German side had given the ball away immediately. They were not punished on either occasion but both they and Klopp know that if the game had carried on for another five or 10 minutes they are likely to have been eliminated.
But there were a lot of to take away from Madrid too. The defence coped admirably with the onslaught and the goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and the centre-back Mats Hummels were outstanding. Robert Lewandowski may not have scored four goals, as he did in the first leg, but he, as Klopp pointed out, behaved like an "über-Mensch" by not reacting to Sergio Ramos's consistent fouling. The Real Madrid defender, said Klopp, should have been booked "about seven times".
The team also dealt brilliantly with the loss of their playmaker, Mario Götze, after a mere 12 minutes. His replacement was Kevin Grosskreutz, who, four years ago, used to play for lower league team Rot Weiss Ahlen on Friday nights and stand in the yellow wall to watch Borussia on Saturday afternoons. It sums up everything that is good about Dortmund. If you can lose a playmaker who has just been sold for €37m and replace him with a local lad come good and still reach the Champions League final you have something special going.
And every so often you get a team in the Champions League who seem destined to win the whole tournament. No one can claim that Liverpool were the best side in 2004-05 but throughout that season the margins were always on their side, against Olympiakos in the group stage, not to mention in the final against Milan. And last season, Chelsea somehow won the whole thing after having been outplayed for large parts of the semi-finals and the final.
Dortmund had their "Olympiakos moment" against Málaga in the quarter-finals when they needed two goals in time added to progress. After the game, the defender Neven Subotic said: "Up until now, our story has been like a Hollywood movie – and hopefully it will have a Hollywood ending."
After Tuesday's heroics at the Bernabéu, few people would bet against Dortmund. However, the final is unlikely to be straightforward, which is why Hans-Joachim Watzke may well find himself locked in a toilet in north London on the evening of 25 May, with his hands over his ears, praying for another miraculous victory.