Borussia Dortmund are into the Champions League! They thoroughly deserve their place even if they had to survive a late scare here, largely because of shoddy finishing prior to that. The Real crowd applaud their own team's effort and, perhaps, the vibrancy of the victors.
At last it is disclosed that there will be five minutes of stoppage time or, to put it another way, Real have one minute to find a winner.
Corner to Real. Lopez comes up. Ramos rises to meet in ... and heads wide. Is that it? It would help if we knew how much stoppage time there is.
Still there has been no sign of a board going up to tell us how long is left! Lopez punts the ball into the Dortmund box.
Dortmund change: Santa on, Bender off. No indication yet as to how much stoppage time there will be.
A break in play as Bender receives treatment for an injury that the crowd suspect does not actually exist ...
GOAL! Real 2-0 Dortmund (Ramos 87) (agg 3-4)
Incessant pressure pays off in spectacular style! After the ball pingponged around the Dortmund box, Benzema showed a cool head to pull it back for Ramos, who smashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from eight yards! The crowd erupts. Real aren't actually going to do it, are they?
Modric, who has perhaps been Real's best player, wins a corner. Di Maria delivers. The Broken Man miskicks but it comes to Benzema, who throws a foxy dummy before hitting a drive from 20 yards that is deflected and brings a fine save from Weidenfeller.
Dortmund change: Lewandowski off, Kehl on. Klopp shoring things up.
It's action stations in the Dortmund box now as Real hurl everything at them. Ramos even abandons fouling duties to join in a legitimate attack, meeting a cross from the left but heading into the arms of Weidenfeller.
GOAL! Real 1-0 Dortmund (Benzema 83') (agg 2-4)
Fine play by Kaka before Ozil pings in a cross from right and Benzema stabs home from close range. Game on?
Khedira, whom came on for Alonso in an incident I neglected to mention, gets a booking for a foul on Bender. "If Lewandowdski's price went up after last week, is it falling tonight?" wonders Adam Nelsen. "He seems overawed by the big away occasion." It would be good if we could buy shares in players and speculate on how their value might rise or fall, enabling us to sell our stake in, say, Wayne Rooney before a big European game.
Webb misses a clear handball on the edge of the Dortmund penalty area, much to the annoyance of the locals. So that seems to be the way to avoid being punished by Webb: use your hands, whether it to touch the ball or adjust an opponent's face. Ramos forgets to obey that rule and fouls Lewandowski with his legs, thereby copping a long overdue yellow card. Mourinho pipes up on the sidelines to whinge about some something.
Unbelievable! Dortmund dissected Madrid with another wonderful move before Reus tees up Lewandowski 10 yards from goal. The man who was so lethal last week blems his shot against a defender and Real survive. The finishing has been woeful so far tonight.
As Dortmund fans sing merrily Real continue to attack limply. Kaka crosses from the left and Di Maria fires wide.
Ozil crosses from the left. The Broken Man leaps but nods wide from seven yards.
Real attack down the left and Di Maria slips the ball inside to The Broken Man, who stabs the ball high and wide from 16 yards under pressure from Bender.
Strong play by Modric to win possession and then dash into the box in anticipation of a return pass from Kaka ... but the pass never comes.
Dortmund sense blood and are enjoying a lot of possession around Real's box. The home side are short of ideas. It's at time like these that Mourinho surely misses Robert Huth. "Essen is dying to get in the middle rather than stuck out on the right," squawks Tony Nolan. "I want Dortmund to go through but he is trying to take the game by the scruff of the neck and I would love to see him have a go. A great player and a great temperament for these games."
Superb save by Lopez! Dortmund seemed certain to score after Reus and Grosskreutz swapped passes on the edge of the area and Reuz tapped the ball into the path of Gundogan, charging in to meet it five yards out. The keeper hurled himself in front of it to pull off an improbable block!
Lewandowski goes down indicating a sore nose after a trademark challenge from Ramos followed by a face-brush from Alonso. Webb runs over and does nothing.
Dreadful by Real. After some nifty work by Modric, their move unravelled because of misplaced passed by Benzema, Ronaldo and Ozil.
It appears that Real have gone to a three-man defence, an understandable risk and one that increases our chances of seeing a goal, as, of course, does the departure of Higuain.
Real subs: Coentrao and Higuain off, Kaka and Benzema on.
Essien sends a cross in from the right but again Dortmund defend it well, preventing Ronaldo from meeting it.
Kaka is about to come on for Madrid, who badly need inspiration.
Ronaldo is broken. Fort the fourth time this season Piszczek has cowed him. He had a chance to re-emerge from his shell just now but rather than try a shot from just inside the box, he went for a misguided pass to not-sure-who and the opportunity was lost.
Bang! Beautiful break by Dortmund, which culminates with Reus slipping the ball into the path of Lewandowski and this time the Pole unleashes a stupendous shot that flies past the keeper .... but crashes out off the crossbar!
What a miss! Dortmund should have sealed victory right there. Reus sent in a soft cross from the right, Grosskreutz flicked it back deftly to give Lewandowski a clear opening ... but he rushed his shot and sent it towards the Calderon.
Roy Keane was saying at half-time that he thinks Howard Webb has had a very sensible game but not everyone agrees. "Three elbows to the head from Ramos on Lewandowski, one of them in the box, and despite being only a few yards away Webb misses all three," gaps Eoin Reynolds. "Does anyone know why he is still allowed to referee these big games?"
We're back, and Real have rediscovered their mojo, at least for now. They've won two corners in the opening seconds of the first half. But done nothing with them
Real will rue those missed chance early on, when their storming start had Dortmund reeling. The Germans have composed themselves since then and are now giving as good as they got. Real now have half the time to do the job they were make any inroads into in the first period. Meanwhile, here's Justin Kavanagh with a sneak preview of activities in the Real dressing room during the break: "Word has it that the Special One has left a note in the Real dressing room that reads GONE TO GET MY HAIR DONE. YOUR DINNER'S NOT IN THE OVEN."
Ronaldo's freekick takes off like a Ryanair special and lands miles away from the desired destination.
Twinkly turn by Ronaldo in his own half, followed by a fine burst through the middle - until bender chops him down, earning a yellow card and giving Real a freekick some 30 yards out. Ronaldo territory ...
Modric overhits a pass and Dortmund can break, Lewandowski turning beautifully past one before being clobbered by Ramos on half-way. No booking, which suggests Howard Webb's vigiliance has lapsed.
Gundogan booked for an infringement that I missed but the ever-vigilant Howard Webb MBE did not.
Di Maria sends a hopeful cross into the penalty area. Weidenfeller claims it easily. Real's early vigour has faded. Mourinho is going to have to quit brooding and say - or do - something inspirational at half-time.
Blaszczykowsky skedaddles down the right and fires in a low cross. Lopez gathers.
Ronaldo, having become fed up with Piszczek's excellence, switches to the right and immediately creates an opening, banging a fine low cross into the danger zone. but Dortmund deal with it well.
Another long ball towards Ronaldo is cut out, this time by Hummels. "The Real ballboys are taking their time getting Dortmund the ball when it’s their throw," notes Rob Coughlin. "A normal tactic for a home side but when you’re down 1-4?"
With Real running low on ideas and even energy, Di Maria tries a long ball forward to Ronaldo ... but Piszczek intervenes to nod back to the goalkeeper.
Ronaldo loses control of the ball, enabling Dortmund to rumble forward again and win a corner. Cue more whistle from the increasingly sceptical home faithful.
The crowd are becoming disgruntled. Real chances have dried up and Dortmund are looking ever more comfortable, preventing Ozil, in particular, from getting on the ball.
Real are having to be patient. Dortmund have shored things up and shown they carry menace on the break so Real are just knocking the ball around as they try to think of a new approach. "Jose Mourinho's words have stoked up his team, that's for sure," reckons Clive Tyldsley, who clearly wasn't listening when Mourinho revealed that he didn't say any words before the match, merely huffily slammed doors and banged saucepans.
This is what a Uefa technical committee might refer to as "end-to-end stuff". Di Maria has a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Then Dortmund tear downfield and Coentrao catches Lewandowski with an ugly one: Howard Webb shows a yellow card, which, as Xabi Alonso might tell you, means it was pretty bad.
Piszczek has shackled Ronaldo very well in the teams' three previous meetings so far but has found it harder tonight: however, he is starting to assert himself going forward and has just led another cracking break-out, which resulted in Lewandowski having a shot blocked. Dortmund are starting to steady themselves and Madrid must really regret not taking any of their early chances.
Sumptuous interplay between Ozil, Di Maria and Essien ... until the latter miscontrols and Dortmund mount a rare counterattack. Pisczek hurtles up from the back to join in but his shot from the edge of the area is well blocked by Ramos. Essien, by the way, has been decent so far, other than the error just mentioned.
Dortmund can't get out of their half. "Madrid are looking insanely fired up," cooes Matt Dony. "Maybe Mourinho got Jeremy Kyle in to give them a pep talk?"
Another miss! Real should be back in this tie by now! Ozil was sent racing clear but, as Weidenfeller raced towards the edge of the box to meet, Ozil dragged a low shot badly wide. He could have gone around the keeper, passed to a free team-mate to his left or just produced an accurate shot but he did none of the above so Dortmund remains three goals clear. Other than their finishing, Real have been diamond so far. They have raised their game several levels and Dortmund, who were so dynamic in the first leg, are struggling to keep up.
Here's blues: Gotze has picked up an injury of some sort and has to replaced by Grosskreutz.
Golden chances at both ends! First Diego Lopez stood up strong to block a Lewandowski shot from eight yards and then, after Real ripped down the other end, Weidenfeller did exactly the same to deny Ronaldo!
Dortmund at last get a bout of possession in Real territory but they're so busy refamiliarising themselves with the ball that their usual sharpness is absent and no one spots Blaszczykowsky, who is baying for a pass in complete freedom on the right.
Higuain gets a foul out of Schmelzer, giving Ozil the chance to ping a freekick in from wide on the right. Higuain rises to meet the delivery on the penalty spot ... but sticks in an appalling header, which droops wide.
Ozil cuts it from the right. Schmelzer pokes it off his foot but the ball rolls into the path of Ronaldo, who lets fly from 15 yards ... but rather too literally, as the ball goes skyward, much to the relief of Dortmund.
Real continue to pound the Dortmund box. The Germans are looking brittle, as evidenced by Subotic's rash clearance just now, which resulted in a needless corner for Real. But Dortmund deal with that.
What a chance for Madrid! Modric wins the ball back on the edge of the Dortmund box and then passed to Ozil, who slips it through to Higuain, who founds himself eight yards from goal with only Weidenfeller to beat ... and he fails to rise to that modest challenge, as the goalkeeper blocks with his foot. "Dortmund are such a rockin' team that they can afford to leave Santana on the bench," riffs Justin Kavanagh. Real's bench suggests they prefer hip-hop. Remember this from Pepe and his accomplice?
Coentrao provides an overlap and receives a pass from Ronaldo before his cross is put behind for a corner. Ronaldo sends the delivery towards Varane but Hummels heads it away. Di Maria picks it up and has a pop from 35 yards, the fool. High and wide it goes.
We have go. And it's a rather tame opening minute from Madrid. Only 89 more minutes for Dortmund to hang on ...
Real's mass motivational video appears to have worked, as the Bernabeu is rocking. Mind you, when it comes to rock, Germany beats Spain hands down.
"I hope the final is not an all-German or all-Spanish affair," frowns Rai Skrupskis. "Finals between teams from the same country lack something and think what a contest a Borussia v Barcelona game would be." Agree entirely.
Asked on ITV about his pre-match team-talk, Mourinho reveals that he's giving his side the sulky wife treatment: "No words ... my silence is a good way for them to understand how I feel".
Roy Keane isn't taken in by the talk of you know-nothings below. Asked on ITV whether Real can come back, he replied: "No". For what it's worth, I agree with him: even if Real score three, which is unlikely, I can't see them stopping Dortmund from scoring.
I was going to hold forth on the significance of Michael Essien being included at right-back, where he was tormented by Reus and Schmelzer when they met in the group stages, and also of Di Maria returnign to the side and allowing Ozil to go into the middle ... but then, like Tom Sawyer when he wriggled out of whitewashing the fence, I thought I'd gallantly step aside to let you guys handle the preamble:
"Logic says it's Dortmund in the final, but I think it is not at all impossible for Madrid to come back in this tie and go on to Wembley final," holler Jose Cunha all the way from Angola. "They have enough quality to beat Borussia by the same margin of the 1st leg. Of course they need a combination of a few factors (luck, Ronaldo being Ronaldo again, refereeing decisions, the match of their lives, defending superbly and a bad game for Dortmund) but let me put it this way;
- 15 minutes into the 1st Half : a couple of controversial decisions from Howard Webb all favouring the home team. Dortmund gets nervous.
- 20 minutes, 1-0 Real Madrid
- 35 minutes, 2-0 Real Madrid
- 2nd Half: a penalty and a sending off for a german player, 3-0 Real Madrid.
Maybe fiction but, even if the Germans score, I don't think it's impossible for Mourinho's men to score four, even against a very good Dortmund team."
"Is it just me who thinks that the most important goal from the first leg could be Ronaldo's away one?" wonders Simon McMahon. "The Dortmund players wouldn't be human if they weren't a bit apprehensive. They are facing Real Madrid and Mourinho at the Bernabeu in the Big Cup semi-final with a three goal lead to defend. It promises to be quite a night whatever happens. It is ON!!!"
"Steve McClaren just earned his pundit package by revealing to all the he thought Cristiano Ronaldo was the key player for Real Madrid today," notes William Billy Boy. " Many might have rested on their laurels but he went on to add that Robert Lewandowski would be the key player for Dortmond. Worth every penny."
Real: Diego Lopez; Essien, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao; Modric, Alonso; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain
Subs: Casillas, Pepe,Khedira, Benzema, Kaka, Albiol, MOrata
Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer; Gundogan, Bender; Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus; Lewandowski
Subs: Langerak, Kehl, Leitner, Sahin, Grosskreutz, Schieber, Santana
Ref: Howard Webb MBE
Paul will be here shortly. In the meantime, take a look at the five things Sid Lowe reckons Real Madrid need to do in order to overturn their deficit to Dortmund:
More intensity ...
José Mourinho complained that his team played the first leg "as if it was a friendly". "We only do licit things," he said. "We're so pure, so innocent, so naive that [Robert] Lewandowski scored four and we didn't commit a single foul on him." While the idea of Mourinho's Madrid being pure, innocent and naive is pretty comic, it is true that there was a lack of intensity about them in the first leg and Pepe didn't commit a single foul. Yet it was not so much about Lewandowski, it was all over the pitch: Madrid were slower to every ball.
... and fewer mistakes
Before the first leg Mourinho claimed that every one of the four goals Borussia Dortmund had scored against Real Madrid in the Champions League could be attributed to individual mistakes. After the first leg, Mourinho claimed that every one of the four goals that Dortmund scored against Real Madrid could be attributed to individual mistakes. Eight from eight, then. Which is really just Mourinho shorthand for: "It's not my fault, it's theirs." Allowing for the exaggeration and the self-interested shifting of blame, and allowing for the fact that focus and attitude are a manager's responsibility too, there was nonetheless an element of truth in what he said. The first goal began with a wayward Xabi Alonso pass, the second with unconvincing defending, and the fourth was a penalty. Intensity and concentration are key.
Get Mesut Ozil back into the middle and back into the game
Angel di María only arrived in Germany on the morning of the first leg, flying into Dusseldorf and travelling by road from there to Dortmund after the premature birth of his daughter. Mourinho decided that he was not ready to play so had to find a replacement (or perhaps, who knows, he always planned to make a change?). By opting for Luka Modric he did not just swap personnel, he swapped system. Mesut Ozil, the player who has done most to give Madrid creativity and fluidity this season, who plays and makes others play, was exiled on the right wing. From where his influence was zero.