Borussia Dortmund took a huge step towards the Champions League final on Wednesday after humbling Spanish giants Real Madrid 4-1 in Dortmund.
Polish international striker Robert Lewandowski scored all four – the first player to score four goals in a European Cup semi-final – of Dortmund’s goals with Cristiano Ronaldo getting Real’s only goal, avoiding a replica of the humiliation suffered by another Spanish club, Barcelona in the hands of Bayern Munich Tuesday.
Dortmund’s win sets them up for a probable all German final.
It wasn’t Real’s worst defeat in the competition, that being a 5-0 thrashing by AC Milan in what was then the European Cup in 1988/89.
Just as Lionel Messi had failed to shine for a subdued Barcelona at Bayern on his return from a hamstring injury, so Real star Cristiano Ronaldo was fairly anonymous after scoring at Dortmund as Real produced a below-par display.
Dortmund claimed their sixth straight European win at home this season and their second over Real in emphatic style at Signal Iduna Park having run out 2-1 victors in October’s group stage win over Madrid.
All Dortmund’s pre-match focus had been on 20-year-old midfield star Mario Goetze after Tuesday’s announcement he will join Bayern Munich next season after actioning a release clause in his contract.
But the night belonged to Lewandowski who stole the limelight with the opening goal, then added a second-half hat-trick to put Dortmund on the verge of their second Champions League final having won the 1997 title.
The anticipated hostile reaction from the home fans towards Goetze never materialised and the 20-year-old helped gift the hosts the perfect start.
His floated cross from the left wing found Lewandowski unmarked at the back post to stab the ball home with just eight minutes on the clock.
The goal spurred Real into life and Ronaldo forced Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller into a diving save on 24 minutes.
Referee Bjoern Kuipers won himself few fans in the Dortmund faithful when he refused Dortmund’s penalty appeal when Marco Reus was brought down in the area by Raphael Varane, moments before Real equalised.
Real drew level two minutes before the break when Dortmund defender Mats Hummels’ back pass was snatched by Gonzalo Higuain, who drew Weidenfeller and squared for Ronaldo to tap in his 11th goal in 10 European games.
The hosts turned up the pace in the second half and Lewandowski grabbed his second with clinical finishing on the turn to slot home Reus’ pass and beat Lopez on 50 minutes.
He netted his third five minutes later when he latched onto Marcel Schmelzer’s cross, then beat centre-back Pepe before drilling his shot home.
With Dortmund fans in delirium, he claimed his fourth of the night when Reus was fouled in the area by Xabi Alonso, after Goetze’s through-ball, and there was only one candidate when Kuipers pointed to the penalty spot on 66 minutes.
Mourinho tried to breathe some life into his Real side with two changes as Karim Benzema came on for striker Higuain and Angel Di Maria took over for Luka Modic in the central midfield position.
But only Lopez’s excellent diving save denied Lewandowski his fifth moments later.
Ronaldo’s away goal now gives Real a slim life-line for Tuesday’s return leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.