In the stands as Robert Lewandowski ruined Real Madrid CF's dream last term, Daniel Carvajal admits that revenge is still very much on the Spanish side's minds.
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Daniel Carvajal was like any other Real Madrid CF fan at the BVB Stadion Dortmund 12 months ago, looking on in horror as Robert Lewandowski all but destroyed their 'Décima' hopes – now the Merengues' first-choice right-back, he is determined to avoid a repeat.
Carvajal's Madrid days looked to be over when he signed a five-year contract with Bayer 04 Leverkusen in July 2012. He quickly caught the eye, helping Leverkusen to a third-place finish in the Bundesliga, and when Dortmund drew Madrid in the last four he made the 80km journey north-east to watch his former employers in action.
It did not go to plan. Four goals from a scintillating Robert Lewandowski gave the home side a 4-1 victory, though Carvajal admits he is more shocked that it all happened so recently. "One year ago, I was watching from the stands – just one year ago," the 22-year-old recalled. "This goes to show how fast time passes." Indeed, a great deal has happened since then.
Madrid triggered a €6.5m buy-back clause in Carvajal's contract last summer and, under Carlo Ancelotti, he has not looked back. Now, after a 3-0 quarter-final first-leg win against Dortmund, the defender is within touching distance of the UEFA Champions League semis with the club – not that he is looking too far ahead. "The first leg was very positive for us," he said. "But it was not decisive.
"We know exactly how Dortmund play. They play good football and try to put brutal pressure on the opposition. They will try everything to turn the tide. We will try to resist that and play to win. We expect them to go on all-out attack for the first 15, 20 minutes, propelled by their fans – they want to put pressure on us and score a quick goal. Then they will hope to keep things open. We have to try to avoid conceding, but why should we not try to score ourselves?"
If sitting in the stands last April was not enough warning of Dortmund's threat to Carvajal, then conceding three times in both Bundesliga meetings with them for Leverkusen was. Yet he also remembers how Bayer scored three in those games, too.
"In the first leg you could see how eager we were to take revenge for the lost semi-final last year," the Spanish Under-21 international added. With such a firm grip on Dortmund, Madrid are not about to let go.