Madrid, Spain – Borussia Dortmund survived a late surge by Real Madrid to advance to the Champions League final for the second time in club history with a 4-3 aggregate victory on Tuesday, despite dropping the second leg of the semifinal tie by a 2-0 count at the Bernabeu.
Dortmund dominated last week's first leg at Signal Iduna Park behind a spectacular four-goal performance from striker Robert Lewandowski, but needed to hold on for dear life in the final 10 minutes of Tuesday's affair to book a spot at Wembley Stadium to compete for the title in Europe's most prestigious club competition.
Dortmund will be aiming for their second Champions League title, which they last won in 1996-97 with a 3-1 victory over Italian giants Juventus.
Madrid, meanwhile, was facing a near impossible task after last Wednesday's performance in Germany, but did have a bit of history to draw inspiration from as the club rallied from a 4-1 first-leg defeat to Derby County in the 1975 European Cup round-of-16 to advance with a 5-1 second-leg and 6-5 aggregate triumph.
Madrid couldn't manage much in the way of offensive chances for large portions of the match, but two late goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos certainly made the visitors sweat down the stretch.
The hosts were on the front foot right from the outset and had the first great chance of the match just four minutes in when Gonzalo Higuain slipped through the Dortmund back line for a shot on goal but Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller got down quickly to make the stop with his right leg.
Real had another great chance in the 14th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo chested down an aerial pass and sent a quick volley on goal, but it was right at Weidenfeller.
One minute later, Mesut Ozil broke in alone on the right wing, but pushed his strike wide of the near post as the visitors weathered the early storm and made it to the interval on level terms.
After the break, it was Dortmund that had the better of the play and a fantastic chance in the 50th minute when Lewandowski was sent through by a lay-off pass from Marco Reus and ripped a right-footed strike, but it smacked the under side of the crossbar and stayed out.
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho made a pair of attack-oriented substitutions in the 57th minute, bringing on Benzema and Kaka together and Benzema's introduction gave the home side some jump.
Los Blancos finally found a breakthrough in the 83rd minute when Benzema latched onto a low cross from the right flank and fired it into the roof of the net to give Madrid some much-needed life.
Five minutes later, Madrid struck again as Benzema tracked down a loose ball along the end line to the left of the goal and slid it to an unmarked Ramos, who blasted it home to bring the hosts within one.
But Real was unable to find the goal that would have sent them through to the final, making them the first club to bow out of the competition in the semifinals three consecutive seasons.