x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Uefa Champions League: Robert Lewandowski scores four goals as Real Madrid suffer 4-1 defeat

Not content with having the honour of becoming the first player to score a hat-trick against Real Madrid in the Uefa Champions League era, the Pole added a fourth before the final whistle, writes Richard Jolly..

DORTMUND, GERMANY - APRIL 24: Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid at Signal Iduna Park on April 24, 2013 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** 167335186.jpg
DORTMUND, GERMANY - APRIL 24: Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid at Signal Iduna Park on April 24, 2013 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** 167335186.jpg

It is Deutschland uber alles. The first all-German Uefa Champions League final went from a possibility to a probability after Borussia Dortmund emulated Bayern Munich and subjected a Spanish superpower to a harrowing evening.

Like Barcelona before them, Real Madrid conceded four times and, while they took an away goal back to Spain, that may seem scant consolation. If Real are to achieve la decima, the 10th European Cup win they have been chasing for 11 years, it will have to include a remarkable recovery at the Bernabeu next week.

It bodes badly that they have met Dortmund three times this season, losing two and winning none and that while Jose Mourinho is a serial semi-finalist, the Portuguese manager has advanced on only two of the first six occasions he reached this stage.

He may yet become the first manager to win the competition with three different clubs. Last night, however, the history maker was Robert Lewandowski, who, not content with having the honour of becoming the first player to score a hat-trick against Real Madrid in the Champions League era, added a fourth.

It was an astonishing display of finishing, capping a terrific team performance. Dortmund's was a performance of such verve that, rather than settling for a 4-1 lead, they looked for a fifth goal.

Lewandowski himself came close to scoring it. The striker was the headline act but Ilkay Gundogan was a busy, bustling presence in the midfield and their creative talents allied extraordinary energy with flair.

If Dortmund's preparations were hindered by the news that Mario Gotze is bound for Bayern Munich in the summer, they certainly did not show it.

There were no boos for the soon-to-be departing midfielder from the huge crowd at the Westfalenstadion. The wunderkind of German football illustrated his class, though he was overshadowed by the outstanding Marco Reus and he, in turn, was upstaged by the superb Lewandowski.

Dortmund overwhelmed Real with their dynamism, especially at the beginning of either half. They made a startling start. They could have been ahead after seven minutes. They were in the lead after eight.

First, Reus ran at the heart of the Madrid defence, unleashed a shot and, when Diego Lopez parried, Lewandowski ought to have slid in to try and convert the rebound. It was the only thing he did wrong all evening and he was soon a scorer, anyway, stretching to volley in Gotze's left-wing cross.

For Dortmund, there was a welcome action replay when they had a goal to show for their sprightliness immediately after the interval. It was testament to Lewandowski's predatory instinct. When Reus mis-hit a shot, the Pole had the awareness to drift into a dangerous position, control it on the turn and toe-poke his effort past Lopez.

His third of the night, and 34th of the season, was another example of masterly finishing. Marcel Schmelzer's effort deflected off Luka Modric and fell to Lewandowski. Once again, he had the composure to take a touch. His second was a rifled shot that rose as it flew into the back of the net.

When Xabi Alonso, with uncharacteristic clumsiness, knocked over Reus, Lewandowski hammered the resulting penalty into the roof of the Madrid net with the confidence of a man who had already scored a hat-trick.

They thought Bjorn Kuipers, the Dutch referee, should have pointed to the spot earlier when Reus burst into the box, stumbling and losing his footing when Raphael Varane made slight contact.

Dortmund's claims were waved away and they seemed still distracted when Mats Hummels under-hit a back pass. Gonzalo Higuain intercepted and cleverly committed Roman Weidenfeller before squaring for Cristiano Ronaldo to sweep his shot into the unguarded net.

It meant the Portuguese equalled a Champions League record by scoring in a sixth successive match.

Yet Dortmund's response means that even if Ronaldo makes it seven consecutive scoring games next week at the Bernabeu, the Germans will still be the favourites to progress.

 

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