Borussia Dortmund will contest their second UEFA Champions League final after Jürgen Klopp's side progressed to the Wembley showpiece despite a frantic finale at Real Madrid CF.
Robert Lewandowski had capped a devastating attacking display with a European Cup first – four goals in a semi-final – in the first leg but this time the onus was on Dortmund's defence. They resisted Madrid for the most part before two goals in quick succession from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos set up a frenetic climax, Dortmund just holding out to reach a first final since lifting the trophy in 1997.
"We played badly in Dortmund and it's difficult to believe we're going to do the same again," said José Mourinho ahead of tonight's second leg and his judgement proved correct as the hosts accompanied pace with rapid passing and a high offensive line to shake their opponents. Luka Modrić's attacking prowess was preferred to Sami Khedira's defensive solidity and the Croatian international was heavily involved early on, hustling to win possession for Mesut Özil, who in turn sent Gonzalo Higuaín clear. The Madrid forward found only the outstretched leg of Roman Weidenfeller with a low shot.
The spectacular atmosphere generated at kick-off in the Spanish capital proved unrelenting, as did the electric pace of the game; Lewandowski went close with a snapshot into the ground that Diego López caught. Losing Mario Götze to a muscle strain in the 14th minute did not help Dortmund's cause, yet Madrid continued to spurn chances. Ronaldo volleyed wide from close range, then Özil raced through on the right before dragging an effort wide.
Madrid's history features some impressive European comebacks, but with the match remaining scoreless going into the second half, a similar feat seemed increasingly unlikely. With the opposition tiring, Dortmund began to take advantage of the emerging spaces and Lewandowski advanced unchecked towards López's goal; the keeper's fingertips and the underside of the crossbar repelled the Polish international's powerful drive.
Now showing the form that had brought six successive wins in all competitions, Dortmund poured forward again. Jakub Błaszczykowski and Marcos Reus combined to set up İlkay Gündoğan and it took a stunning López stop from point-blank range to keep Madrid in the contest.
Maintaining an unbeaten home run that spanned 40 games was the last thing on Madrid minds as the Merengues continued to throw caution to the wind in search of an opener. It finally arrived in the 83rd minute when substitute Benzema completed a fine move by slamming in Özil's centre.
The home supporters roared their team forward with chants of "Sí se puede" (You can do it) and the stadium erupted again when Sergio Ramos rifled Benzema's cut-back into the roof of the net. It was not to be for the nine-time European champions, however, who bowed out at the semi-final stage for a third straight season – despite inflicting a first defeat of this campaign on Dortmund. The post-match celebrations suggested that statistic mattered little to Klopp and the Bundesliga side.