The Breakdown: Real Madrid vs Dortmund

Mats Hummels salvaged his reputation with a superb defensive performance as Borussia Dortmund progressed to the Champions League final despite losing at Real Madrid.

Mats Hummels of Borussia Dortmund heads clear

By FOX Sports Staff

Madrid knew that the one goal they scored at the Signal Iduna Park, benefitting from a poor backpass by the defender, would mean three goals at the Santiago Bernabeu would see them progress to the final. 

And they nearly managed to pull off such a spectacular comeback as late goals by Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos put them on the edge of the desired result. 

However, the solid defensive work at the back by Hummels and team-mate Nevan Subotic, as they headed away a majority of the crosses and carried out some diligent marking, helped Dortmund progress to their second Champions League final. 

After the game, Jose Mourinho also made some remarkably frank statements that hint at a possible return to England and, on the back of this result, Real could live to regret that as the Portuguese did his absolute best to help the La Liga giants reach the final. 

A man that knows how to exit in style ensured an equally impressive end to Madrid's Champions League run on a thrilling night at the Bernabeu. 

Real Madrid

Defence

Mourinho opted to drop Pepe and made the right decision to reintroduce Ramos to the centre of defence as the Spaniard played with his heart on his sleeve although he did commit a number of fouls that could have earned him the 17th red card of his career. 

Down the flanks, Michael Essien and Fabio Coentrao carried out their job admirably and curbed their attacking tendencies to prevent a similar onslaught on Diego Lopez as the one that saw them concede four goals last week. 

Lopez also addressed his detractors with a terrific performance, helped as he was by a considerable slice of luck, and made several close-range stops to walk away from the pitch with a clean sheet. 

Lopez - 8 | Essien - 8 | Ramos - 8 | Varane - 7.5 | Coentrao (off 57') - 7

Midfield

A sacrifice was also made in midfield as Xabi Alonso was the only holding midfielder left in the squad with Sami Khedira placed on the bench. 

The ex-Liverpool midfielder did a much better job this time around as his passes connected with Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo down the wings, enabling a swift transition from defence to attack that saw Dortmund get pinned to their own half for the majority of the game. 

Instead of Khedira, Luka Modric was brought on instead and the Croatian gave a good account of himself as he showed quick thinking to flick the ball towards the attackers ahead of him. Unlike Di Maria, he did not get influenced by the high-pressure environment either and sought for a pass when others would have attempted pointless long-distance shots.

It was a mixed game for Mesut Ozil as the German sent in some clever passes but failed to square the ball in the 15th minute when sent through on goal with Ronaldo waiting in the distance to bury the ball into the net.

But then Ozil did send in the telling cross from the right that was converted by Benzema for the first of Real's two goals in the 83rd minute. 

Alonso (off 67') - 8 | Ozil - 7.5 | Modric - 8

Attack

When the hopes of an entire club are placed on your shoulders, few would be able to live up to the challenge but Ronaldo put in an acceptable performance as his pace, dribbling and running won Madrid a number of free-kicks throughout the game. 

Moreover, Ronaldo was effective in his link-up play with his team-mates but all that hard work was wasted by Gonzalo Higuain as the Argentinean repeatedly saw a poor first touch spoil many of his side's attacks.

Di Maria was also not at his best as the winger could not deliver any decent crosses and did not have the physical strength to hold onto the ball when placed under pressure. 

Di Maria - 7 | Ronaldo - 7.5 | Higuain (off 57') - 6

Subs

It would be naiive to declare that Mourinho knew exactly what he was doing even as his substitutions enabled Madrid to get back into the game in the final ten minutes. 

Khedira was brought on for Coentrao and it meant Real had to employ a three-man defence and this was a fairly risky strategy to utilise in a game with such high stakes. Ilkay Gundogan nearly benefitted from the decision as he got a chance to score the opener in the 62nd minute when a cross into the middle by Marco Reus left him an easy opportunity from eight yards out. Luckily for the home fans, Lopez made a breathtaking block that preserved Real's hopes of a turnaround. 

It nearly materialised as well as Kaka, who was at his silky best in his brief cameo, splayed the ball out wide for Ozil to swing in a low cross that Benzema smashed into the net in the 83rd minute. 

The Frenchman's industry next proved pivotal as he chased down a ball and passed it back to Ramos to score the second goal five minutes later. 

Ultimately, it wasn't enough as Dortmund held out for the remainder of the game and the substitutes could not find that all-important third goal. 

Khedira (on 67') - 7.5 | Kaka (on 57') - 8 | Benzema (on 57') - 8.5

Borussia Dortmund


Defence

While the plaudits will rain aplenty for Madrid, it should not be forgotten that the Dortmund defence worked their socks off to keep the scoreline level for over eighty minutes of the game. 

 

Hummels was a rock in defence and ensured that their opponents largely had to rely on half-chances to try and net an early goal. In this manner, Madrid's 24 attempts largely flatter them as very few of them were clearcut opportunities that threatened to break the deadlock. 

 

It also helped that both Subotic and Roman Weidenfeller were ready to support him by bravely placing their bodies on the line. Weidenfeller made two close-range saves early on in order to deny Madrid the goal that would have surely led to a heartbreaking exit from the competition for Dortmund. 

 

In contrast, Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer let down their side as they were beaten for pace down the flanks and made several poor clearances that only served to put their side under sustained pressure. 

 

Weidenfeller - 8 | Piszczek - 6.5 | Subotic - 7.5 | Hummels - 8 | Schmelzer - 6

Midfield

Two early cautions for Sven Bender and Gundogan prevented the Dortmund midfield from bottling the supply from their counterparts on the Madrid line-up in the game. 

Moreover, they opted to err on the side of caution and retreated into their own half to provide support to the defence in order to preserve their aggregate lead. 

Jakub Blaszczykowski was also anonymous for much of the game as he appeared undecided on whether to contribute in defence or up front in attack. 

Bender - 6.5 | Gundogan - 7 | Blaszczykowski - 6

Attack

An early injury for Mario Gotze curtailed his participation in the high-profile semi-final but Marco Reus showed once more how he's more than willing to fill the shoes of the Bayern Munich-bound starlet. 

 

The 23-year-old regularly combined with Robert Lewandowski and the two men seemed fully capable of upsetting the home side with an unexpected away goal. 

 

Lewandowski also showed how he has one of the best first touches for a striker on the continent as early in the second half, the tall Pole produced a cracker of a shot from the right that bounced off the underside of the bar. 

 

In the final, they will definitely need more support from the midfielders, though, as Bayern are unlikely to give the trio as much respect as the Real defenders did over the two legs of the semi-final. 

 

Gotze (off 14') - N/A | Reus - 8 | Lewandowski (off 87') - 8

Subs

Kevin Grosskreutz was not an adequate replacement for Gotze as the midfielder sent in his crosses far too early and with poor judgement. Towards the later stages of the game, he also abandoned efforts to join the counter-attack and was even made redundant by Schmelzer's ambitious runs down the left. 

Captain Sebastian Kehl was brought on late into the game but he did not really have much of a time to make an impact. 

However, after 12 years of sterling service in a black-yellow shirt, he would have been relieved to finally get a chance to feature in the Champions League final and would have been most happiest to hear the harmonious tune of the final whistle after over six minutes of stoppage time. 

Grosskreutz (on 14') - 6 | Kehl (on 87') - N/A 



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