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Road to Rotterdam: BV Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund reached the UEFA Cup final after 16 games and four defeats in two competitions.

It took 16 games and four defeats in two competitions for BV Borussia Dortmund to reach their second UEFA Cup final, facing the hosts a year after the same fixture was held at their own Westfalenstadion.

UEFA Champions League exit
Their European journey began in early August when they beat Ukrainians FC Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. Things began well enough with a 2-2 draw at FC Dynamo Kyiv, but after being held at home by Liverpool FC they lost 2-1 at Boavista FC, a defeat that could easily have been heavier. Dortmund won the return by the same score, a 3-1 beating of Dynamo ensured Dortmund at least a UEFA Cup chance. And it was that competition Dortmund had to settle for after their injury-hit team lost 2-0 at Liverpool, when a point would have been enough.

Third round
However, they took to the UEFA Cup, which they won in 1993, superbly. A late winner from Heiko Herrlich gave them a 1-0 win in the away third round first-leg tie with FC København, and a similarly late clincher scored by Derek Sørensen ensured Dortmund's progress by a 2-0 aggregate, beginning a
run in which the German side conceded just one goal prior to their semi-final second leg.

Fourth round
That solitary concession came on the return from the European winter break, in the first leg of the fourth round, when they visited Lille OSC. At the time Dortmund had not lost since October, and after defending for much of the match, they visitors ensured that run would continue by taking the lead on 66 minutes through Ewerthon's close-range effort. Although Lille equalised five minutes later, Dortmund held on for the draw holding the
crucial away goal.  And it could not have proved more crucial as a dogged defensive display, a week after finally losing a game 4-0 to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, helped Dortmund hold Lille 0-0 in the Westfalenstadion.

The quarter-finals began in similar fashion with a 0-0 draw against FC Slovan Liberec in Prague, a game moved from the Czech side's U Nisy stadium because of the state of the pitch. Slovan had had the better of the first leg, and were made to pay for failing to score with a 4-0 home victory for Dortmund in the return. After their tight defensive displays earlier in the competition, Dortmund turned on the style after half-time, scoring four goals through Marcio Amoroso, Jan Koller, Lars Ricken and Ewerton, in a
display masterminded in midfield by Tomás Rosicky.

With Internazionale FC and Milan AC both in separate semi-finals, many pundits expected that city's two clubs to face each other in Rotterdam for the trophy. But having been drawn to face Milan, Dortmund destroyed those predictions in their home first-leg with a 4-0 win inspired by a first-half Amoroso hat-trick. Rosicky again starred and Jörg Heinrich added the fourth
to leave the Milan leg a formality. Although the Italian side quadrupled the number of goals conceded by Dortmund in the competition with a 3-1 triumph in the second match, Ricken's injury-time strike ensured the Germans celebrated a final place against Feyenoord by a 5-3 aggregate margin.