Everyone salivated at the prospect of the match up between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, two fine footballing sides with an excellent past season, a cream of Europe’s best players and two of the most gifted and influential managers in world football, Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho. Well, it didn’t quite turn out to be the classic it threatened to be, at least not in the first half. The weathermen had forecast a rainy night in Germany, the Dortmund pitch was all slippery, the first period was almost as drab as the conditions and if you were a neutral you would have declared the encounter an anti climax. Players slipped all over the pitch and made more sloppy passes than you would care to remember. It was just such sloppiness, on the part of Madrid’s central defender Pepe that led to Dortmund’s opening goal. With the ball deep in his own half and of all the things he might have done with it, Pepe gifted it straight to Lewandowski, one of the hottest strikers in Europe, who did not lose the opportunity to stroke it firmly past Casillas. That seemed o bring the banal encounter to some life and just a couple of minutes later, Ozil lobbed a long central ball over the Dortmund defence for Ronaldo to chase down and score his fifth goal in three Champions League games.
It was not exactly a game of two contrasting halves but the second period did present the spectators with enough intensity and quality at times to almost justify the pre-game hype. Just after the hour mark, Casillas, who was playing in his 125th Champions League game, committed a gaffe of his own when he tamely punched a cross only as far as the lurking Schmelzer, who rifled home for Dortmund’s second and ultimately winning goal. Madrid had a lot of possession but did precious little with it in the final third and failed to make many quality attempts on goal. On the whole, it was quite a disappointing performance by the Spanish side and the usually glib Mourinho was visibly lost for words. On the other hand, all credit must go to the Germans for a disciplined, if not inspired showing and they quite deserved their resultant leadership of the so called Group of Death in which Madrid now come second, while Ajax are in third and Manchester City bring up the rear after a 3 -1 loss in Amsterdam.