This past Saturday, Dortmund waited until the 34th minute to fall behind and then until halftime to start the comeback, getting a goal each from Robert Lewandowski and Reus for a second-consecutive come-from-behind victory in Bundesliga competition.
Now, as the halftime of their two-leg battle nears its end, the BVB are facing a much stiffer deficit and much stronger resistance when Real Madrid enters Signal Iduna park with a 3:0 lead in the tie and all the confidence that comes with having achieved such a decisive result in the first leg.
While it would be inaccurate to call the pre-match posturing of some of Dortmund’s cast of characters as “confidence,” it’s clear the matter is far from settled, as far as they are concerned. Mats Hummels put his side’s chances of proceeding to the semifinals at “three percent,” while Reus simply says, “nothing is impossible.”
One huge difference between last Wednesday in Madrid and Tuesday night in Dortmund, aside from the renowned home support echoing off Dortmund’s famed ‘Yellow Wall,’ will be the presence of Lewandowski, as Dortmund’s top goal scorer missed the first leg due to an aggregation of yellow cards.
Real fans and players will remember Lewandowski as the man who single-handedly tipped the 2012-13 Champions League semifinal in favor of the German side with four goals in the first leg of the tie.
Painful memories for Real, for sure, but Lewandowski also wishes to not discuss it.
“That is history,” responded the Polish striker to questions about his contributions to the BVB success against Real last year. “We must write a new story. If anyone thinks that I will score four goals again, that’s a little bit crazy.”
Indeed, this is accurate, as a 4:1 final score Tuesday in Westphalia would not be enough for the BVB to go through.
Unlikely perhaps, but, in the words of Reus, “Nothing is impossible.”
Further raising the hopes of the Dortmund believers is news that Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo cut short his participation in training Monday, reportedly due to a lingering knee injury incurred in the first leg. Should Real opt to rest Ronaldo with the huge lead in favor of risking further damage that could result in a longer-term absence for the ruling best footballer on the planet, a boost in optimism for Dortmund’s chances would be inevitable with Real’s biggest scoring threat neutralized before the match even begins.
With or without Ronaldo, Real has more than enough talent to protect the sizeable advantage they’ve already earned.
The plan for Lewandowski remains the same.
“We cannot have any fear and must go full throttle. With our fans at our back, a lot can happen.”