Borussia Dortmund reached the semifinals of the Champions League in incredible fashion as they scored two goals in injury time to break Malaga’s hearts with a 3-2 aggregate win.
With Dortmund looking on their way out after Eliseu's strike meant the Germans needed two goals in the final eight minutes, the home side somehow responded with goals from Marcus Reus and Felipe Santana. The winner appeared to be a clear offside, much to Malaga’s disdain, although Dortmund will point to a similar failure to raise an offside flag for Eliseu’s goal.
Despite Dortmund being in charge for much of the 90 minutes, they had fallen behind early too from Joaquin’s first-half strike before Robert Lewandowski’s equalizer. While they certainly made it hard for themsleves and Malaga deserve plenty of credit for their performance, it would be hard to argue that over the two legs Dortmund were not the better team.
It was Dortmund that had been on top in the first leg too, but were unable to capitalize after a rash of missed chances. And in both regards they started in a similar vein back at home.
Their movement up front was again causing Malaga problems and just past the 15 minute mark Lewandowski produced an intelligent interchange with Mario Gotze but lobbed over Willy Caballero and his cross bar.
Cheered on by an incredible wall of noise at the Westfalenstadion, Dortmund appeared to have all the momentum. But not for the first time in their debut Champions League season, underdogs Malaga weren’t prepared to follow the script.
In the 25th minute, one of the many Malaga players who had been deemed ready for the scrap heap elsewhere, Joaquin, exchanged passes with Isco on edge of box, before feinting back inside Marcel Schmelzer onto his weaker left foot and firing a low shot through Neven Subotic and past the dive of Roman Weidenfeller.
Not for the last time on the evening, the advantage would not last long, though, and five minutes before the break Dortmund were level.
The hosts won the ball on the half-way line and within the blink of an eye the ball was in the back of the net after a move that demonstrated why Jurgen Klopp's side have received such acclaim. Gotze came forward from the right and played a pass inside to Reus who provided a delightful first-time flick through to Lewandowski in the box. Unlike the first leg, this time the striker showed wonderful composure as he took the ball past Caballero and slotted it into the empty net despite pressure from recovering defenders.
Time and again, though, Dortmund threatened to undermine their qualities going forward by switching off at the back.
Right on the stroke of half time, Duda’s free-kick from deep inexcusably found Joaquin in yards of space 10 yards from goal but the winger’s header lacked adequate power and direction and a relieved Weidenfeller grasped the ball diving to his right.
On the other side of the interval Joaquin had yet another headed opportunity and this time Weidenfeller produced a spectacular one-handed stop to keep the scores level.
From there Dortmund had several chances to go in front, but, as in the first leg, Gotze’s finishing was found wanting, first firing over the near post and then seeing an effort denied by the again impressive Caballero.
Then, incredibly, with eight minutes remaining, Malaga produced yet another surprise.
Isco fed in Baptista, whose shot appeared to be heading wide of the far post before being tapped home by Eliseu from a couple of yards out. The substitute immediately looked across for a flag, but it never came despite just having strayed into an offside position.
The situation was now desperate for Dortmund, needing two goals to avoid exiting the competition, but it was Malaga that defended in a desperate manner to allow their opponents a route back in the first minute of injury time. A long ball forward found Subtotic in the area and, although his pass was diverted away from Santana, Reus was on hand to apply the finish.
And Malaga were unable to stem the tide and in the third minute of injury time the Westfalenstadion was sent into raptures.
From Lewandowski’s cross, another goalmouth scramble ensued and Santana got the final touch over the line, although he had clearly been in an offside position. But Malaga’s protests fell on death ears as their remarkable run comes to an end while Dortmund’s continues on.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.