It was clear that after the 4-1 in the semi-final first leg, a comeback from Real Madrid was going to be very complicated. Real Madrid had on the pitch pride, the weight of history and the encouragement of thousands of fans who believed in a historic comeback against Borussia Dortmund. The whites had to win by three goals without receiving any in the second leg of the semifinals of the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabéu. The comeback was more complicated than it seemed, because during this season Real Madrid had faced Borussia without winning a single match.
Real Madrid came out with a lot of intensity onto the field. The pressure from both teams was huge and there were many clear chances, especially from Real Madrid. Key players like Ozil, Cristiano, and Higuain had several opportunities, shots that went astray, and they couldn’t score any goals. Borussia was dominant, constantly winning the ball quickly and putting pressure upon their host. Everyone knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy task for Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo attempted to assume the responsibility of leading the charge as usual, even though he was not at 100 percent. The Germans always closed all the spaces in their back line, trying not to allow the Merengues to put them into trouble. Real Madrid had more ball possession and opportunities to score, but weren’t capable of taking advantage of the goalscoring chances they had during the first half.
The union between the public and the players was there. Real Madrid fans showed during the whole match their love and support to the players and to the club. The supporters were singing, chanting and animating the players. Even though it seemed almost impossible, the whole stadium believed that a miracle could happen, up until the last second. The players had the right attitude at all times, and that got the public behind them. Changes needed to be made for the second half, Mourinho knew it and decided to take off Coentrao, Higuain and Xabi Alonso and replace them with Kaka, Benzema and Khedira. As usual Diego Lopez made a brilliant save that prevented what could have been the first goal for the Germans.
The last hope for Real Madrid came during the eighty second minute, the white team woke up, and Real Madrid’s first goal was scored by Benzema from a direct attack. The Santiago Bernabéu was on fire, the team and the fans started to believe again, chants began to get louder and louder: “Yes, we can!”. Borussia was trying to waste time at all cost, and Real Madrid did their best to get the ball back. Tension was building up and at minute eighty nine, after a pass from Benzema, Sergio Ramos smashed the ball into the roof of the net to score the second goal of the night. It was at that moment when the “remontada” seemed so real, everything was possible. Five minutes were added, and Real Madrid did everything in their power, the team gave everything they had for the third goal to get the pass to Wembley, but sadly they ran out of time. Howard Webb blew his whistle and the necessary third goal never arrived.
Without any doubt, this was the most exciting, emotional, and simply the best match of the season for all the Madridistas. The players tried their best, especially in the first minutes of the game and, without a doubt, in the last fifteen minutes. It is important to acknowledge the epic environment that came alive at the Santiago Bernabéu. The special bond between fans and players at the most painful defeat experienced during the season. La Decima will have to wait until next year. The Copa del Rey final on Friday, May 17 at the Bernabéu, is now the only goal left for the Merengues this season.
-Marcela Gonzalez, reporting live from the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid (twitter: @La_Tiki_Tiki_)