A European champion with Borussia Dortmund in 1997, Lars Ricken believes their group stage success against Real Madrid CF can breed confidence for the clubs' semi-final.
Borussia Dortmund picked up four points from their two group stage meetings with Real Madrid CF this season – but defeat by the Merengues in their last UEFA Champions League semi-final appearance, in 1998, means the Bundesliga side are seeking revenge of their own.
Dortmund topped Group D, ahead of Madrid, thanks partly to a 2-1 victory over José Mourinho's team on matchday three. They will come up against the Liga champions again in the last four, with the first leg scheduled for the BVB Stadion on 23 April. Even the following week's return to the Santiago Bernabéu will not daunt Jürgen Klopp's men, who earned a 2-2 draw in the Spanish capital in November.
Borussia did not fare as well in their most recent UEFA Champions League semi-final, however, when as European champions they suffered a 2-0 aggregate reverse against Madrid. "It has been 15 years since we were in the semi-finals of the Champions League," said Lars Ricken, a member of those Dortmund sides and now the German club's youth team coordinator.
"It shows the development of the team. We have already proved we can beat Real Madrid this season, and that is why we are strongly hoping we can reach the final of the Champions League again. We also want some kind of revenge, because in 1998 we met them in the semi-finals and lost. Well, I wouldn't really say revenge, but we want to prove ourselves."
Klopp echoed Ricken's sentiments, pointing out that while the nine-time European champions represent a high hurdle, they were "the only team left in the draw who we have already beaten this season". Similarly, the sides' recent history did not escape the attention of Madrid sporting director Emilio Butragueño. "We have a lot of respect for Borussia Dortmund," he said. "We played them twice but didn't manage to beat them. This time we hope it will be different as we want to be in the final – that's what we are all dreaming about.
"We know their potential and how difficult it will be to stop them. It's a great motivation for us all – there is one step left to reach the final that we at Madrid have been waiting for for several years. We have to take this great opportunity and I have no doubt the team will be in top condition to make it to Wembley. We know how difficult it's going to be, but we know that if the team play to their best then we will certainly have a chance."
06/11/2012, group stage: Madrid 2-2 Dortmund (Pepe 34, Özil 89; Reus 28, Arbeloa og 45)
24/10/2012, group stage: Dortmund 2-1 Madrid (Lewandowski 36, Schmelzer 64; Ronaldo 38)
25/02/2003, second group stage: Dortmund 1-1 Madrid (Koller 23; Portillo 90+2)
19/02/2003, second group stage: Madrid 2-1 Dortmund (Raúl 43, Ronaldo 56; Koller 30)
15/04/1998, semi-finals: Dortmund 0-0 Madrid
01/04/1998, semi-finals: Madrid 2-0 Dortmund (Morientes 24, Karembeu 67)
* all UEFA Champions League