Ballspiel-Verein Borussia. Few would have known what these visibly German words meant before the start of the Champions League 2012/13.
Even after this young-star-studded-team was placed in a group that contained some of the biggest names in football - two league winners and another league runner up - Borussia Dortmund was only acknowledged as the team that got lucky and edged its way past Bayern Munich the previous season, if they were acknowledged at all.
Placed alongside the team that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat during the last few do-or-die minutes of injury time to edge out Manchester Unitd on goal difference for the Premier League title, and the Spanish team that thwarted arguably the best team in the world in their own league, Borussia Dortmund was expected to drown, and drown quickly.
Who would have predicted that this team would cause such a sensation? Would anyone have said that in less than a year, more than half of the footballing world would be donning black and yellow for the grand finale of the Champions League, eager for their favourite underdog to succeed?
Die Borussen blazed its way through the group stage of the Champions League, finishing atop what was considered by many the tightest group of the league, with 14 points from six games and no losses. Premier League representatives Manchester City finished bottom of the group, and it could be said that Dortmund was largely to blame for that. Eyes widened when Dortmund beat Real Madrid, and they were given a chance to let loose when they ripped into Ajax in their last group game, having already been guaranteed qualification.
Dortmund breezed through the round of 16 with a first leg draw and then a victory against Shakhtar Donetsk, winning 3-0 at home in the second leg with all three goals coming before the hour mark.
However, it was their quarterfinal performance that got almost every fan whose favourite team had already been knocked out to support them. They drew in the first leg, and then in the second leg, they pulled off the impossible by scoring two injury time goals- two brilliant, defying all rules of football goals that sent this sparkling team flying into the semi finals to face off against one of the biggest names in football, a name that even a dodo who had no clue about football would recognise as formidable-Real Madrid.
Lined up to play Real Madrid one night after Bayern Munich completed an emphatic first leg win over Barcelona, people were expecting another German-Spanish showdown, something in the ranks of a classic.
And Borussia Dortmund came good. Playing in front of 90,000 adoring fans, with the entire world save for Spanish supporters behind them, Dortmund completed a whopping 4-1 victory over Madrid, largely in thanks to Robert Lewandowski, who shot his way straight to headlines by scoring all four goals of the evening.
The second leg went less their way, but regardless, Borussia Dortmund held on for a victory on aggregate, and marched into the finals, where they came second best to Bayern Munich, arguably the best team in the world at the moment. Dortmund didn't win the Champions League, but they've emerged from the competition with their heads held high. Because now, they are a team that is respected.
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