Although inherently a counter-attacking side, Borussia Dortmund is also one that likes to press in high positions, and at a rapid tempo. Faced with defending a 4-1 lead against a team like Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp’s approach was going to be interesting. “We will not do one thing or the other (defend or attack),” he had said ahead of the game. “It would be silly for us to have a clear idea of what we’re going to do.”
Klopp meant it differently but Dortmund, unchanged from the first leg, looked clueless in the opening 20 minutes. The Germans seemed to be in the grip of a panic, misplacing passes and struggling to get out of their own half.
Much of this had to do with Real’s change in approach: Mesut Ozil and Luka Modric were restored to their best positions, while Michael Essien’s inclusion allowed Sergio Ramos to move into centre-half.
Ozil played as he mostly does, dropping deep, drifting out wide, before suddenly moving into space ahead. This movement allowed him an excellent chance early on, but when clean through on the ’keeper, he dragged his shot wide.
Modric took Sami Khedira’s place alongside Xabi Alonso and thrived, orchestrating Real’s first attacks. Dortmund was hampered by Mario Gotze’s early injury — Kevin Grosskreutz’s arrival on the left perhaps forced Marco Reus out of position — but it managed to recover from the opponent’s early onslaught.
Jose Mourinho’s first substitution —Kaka for the left-back Fabio Coentrao on 57 minutes — allowed Dortmund some space out on the right (much of its attacks towards the close sprang from there) but it also did work for Real. Kaka had a hand in the opening goal from Karim Benzema.
Sergio Ramos’s push forward helped Real grab a second goal while Klopp’s men looked generally incapable of keeping the ball.
On the whole, Real attacked while Dortmund sat deep (to mediocre effect) waiting for chances on the break. In the end, both sides were guilty of wasting chances. — Shreedutta Chidananda