Borussia Dortmund target Wembley return after magical Champions League night


Borussia Dortmund’s UEFA Champions League dream lives on, and now the Bundesliga club have Wembley in their sights after one of the most famous European nights at the Signal Iduna Park and the enthralling 4-2 win over Atlético Madrid.

You sometimes get days in football where fans make their way to the stadium with that feeling that they’re about to see something incredible. Tuesday was one of those days. Despite facing a 2-1 deficit from the first leg, they absolutely believed in Dortmund that they could and would turn things around against a resolute Atlético side.

The BVB players rode that wave from the capacity 81,365 Signal Iduna Park crowd and found themselves 2-0 up and ahead on aggregate after quickfire goals from Julian Brandt and Ian Maatsen. The Westfalenstadion was absolutely rocking. The nearly 25,000 in the Yellow Wall in the south stand were bouncing.

It wouldn’t be Dortmund without a few twists, though. An unfortunate own goal from Mats Hummels early in the second half toned things down slightly, before the Spaniards forged back ahead on aggregate in the 64th minute. Edin Terzić’s side had been under the cosh for most of the second half. But that goal sparked everyone in black and yellow back into life.

Urged on by the crowd, which was almost trying to suck the ball into the goal in front of the Südkurve, BVB hit another quickfire double, first with a brilliant Niclas Füllkrug header from Marcel Sabitzer’s cross, before the Austrian hammered home himself only three minutes later to send Borussia into the Champions League semi-finals.

Hummels, who had enjoyed a near-flawless game apart from his own goal, wrote afterwards on Instagram: “I’m telling you, when you’ve been on the pitch in a game like this in this stadium, then you know that there's nothing more to football. The atmosphere in the stands, the energy in the stadium – you only get that here. You don’t forget it. Never!”

It was an incredible evening that will go down in Dortmund history. It’s the fourth time the club have been in the final four at Europe’s top table. They will host Paris Saint-Germain in a fortnight, before the return leg in France the week after. “We’ve already faced PSG twice. The first game in Paris wasn’t good. The second in Dortmund was much different, but also tight, but we were closer to a win than them,” said coach Terzić, adding: “We’re a much more solid team now than in September or even December.”

That’s good news for all black-and-yellow supporters, who will essentially witness only knockout games until the end of the season, both in the Champions League and Bundesliga, where BVB are battling with RB Leipzig to finish fourth.

Watch: The Dortmund stadium experience

Perhaps fifth place will also be enough to earn a Champions League spot. That is now very much in Borussia’s own hands, as positive results in the semi-finals will boost the Bundesliga’s UEFA co-efficient and help keep Germany ahead of England’s Premier League in the race for that extra spot.

In fact, they’re dreaming of much more than that now in Dortmund. “That’s definitely the goal. Not talking about it would be nonsense,” said striker Füllkrug when asked of the prospect of reaching the final at Wembley. His coach added: “You need to earn your place in the final. We’ve got two games before then. And in that case, it makes sense to fight for the final.”

It’s a campaign that’s evoked memories of 2013 for all involved at Borussia. Many still remember their run that season that included two late goals against Málaga to reach the semi-finals. They then saw off Real Madrid to reach the final, which – like this year – was played at Wembley in London. On that occasion they were beaten by Bayern Munich in the first all-German Champions League final. There’s the distinct possibility of a repeat in 2024.

There’s two more magical European nights to go before then, but they are definitely dreaming now in Dortmund.