Felipe Santana's place in Borussia Dortmund folklore is assured.
Having just equalised at 2-2 both on the night and on aggregate – but still trailing on away goals – in their home UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg against Málaga CF, Dortmund were heading for the exit when Santana poked in a loose ball to spark delirium among the 65,829 fans inside the BVB Stadion. It will be there that Real Madrid CF visit on Wednesday for the first leg of their semi-final, though Santana can be forgiven for still having his mind on events a fortnight ago.
"It was a special night, not just for me but for the whole team," central defender Santana told UEFA.com. "We had practically lost that match, but in the last few seconds we managed to turn it around. Not just for us but for everyone at Borussia Dortmund it was a marvellous evening, an evening we will never forget.
"It was difficult to go to sleep because every time I closed my eyes I saw that scene. The boys were shouting; it was difficult but it was nice. It was a night I will never forget and it will be in my memory forever."
The Brazilian's 93rd-minute goal from that penalty-box scramble – following a Marco Reus strike two minutes before – was only his second in UEFA competition. Indeed, the centre-back was far from a first-team regular until injuries to Mats Hummels and Neven Subotić earlier this season gave the 27-year-old his chance to shine.
"If you're talking about the Champions League, of course it's our dream – not just mine but that of all children born with the desire to play football," Santana said. "To play in the Champions League and to reach the final.
"And then talking about Wembley, a special stadium – it would be marvellous. And personally speaking, I think that in terms of how I feel as a player, I'm at 100% which is good for Borussia Dortmund. Borussia Dortmund benefit because they have three [centre-halves] at the same level. And at any moment any of us can play and play well."
While Wednesday's guests Madrid are far from easy opponents, Dortmund did meet them in Group D and finished three points above them after winning 2-1 at home then drawing 2-2 away. "We are facing Real Madrid and we already know each other," he said. "There is mutual respect – and we know about the difficulties. So we will put into practice everything we have shown so far in the Champions League, so we can leave [the second leg] with a victory and continue our dream."
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