Big Match Feature: Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

football31 May 2024 07:00
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The 2023/24 Uefa Champions League concludes with a German-Spanish final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday as Borussia Dortmund take on Real Madrid. Catch the action live on SuperSport and live streaming available on DStv.

While Dortmund are in the final for only the third time – and the first since 2013, also at Wembley, when they lost an all-Bundesliga decider against Bayern München – and are looking to win the European Cup for the second time – the most recent of Madrid's record 14 titles came only two years ago.

Dortmund have won one and lost one of their two previous European Cup finals; in contrast, Madrid have featured in this contest 17 times and have lost only three, the last in 1981. They have been victorious in each of their last eight finals – all in the Champions League era.

Both sides came through epic semifinals to reach Wembley. Two sterling defensive displays took Dortmund past Paris Saint-Germain, while Madrid engineered another remarkable late revival, two late Joselu goals turning round their tie against Bayern.


This is the fifth European Cup final between teams from Germany and Spain. Each country has two wins apiece, Bayern beating Atlético de Madrid in 1974 and Valencia in 2000 while Madrid overcame Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 and Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.

This is the eighth European Cup final to be played at Wembley:

1963: AC Milan 2-1 Benfica

1968: Manchester United 4-1 Benfica (aet)

1971: Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos

1978: Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge

1992: Barcelona 1-0 Sampdoria (aet)

2011: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United

2013: Bayern München 2-1 Borussia Dortmund



Dortmund are featuring in their third European Cup final, all in the Champions League era. Their record is W1 L1:

1996/97: Dortmund 3-1 Juventus

2012/13: Bayern München 2-1 Dortmund

The defeat by Bayern 11 years ago is the only all-German final – and the last time the match was played at Wembley.

Dortmund are the 13th club to appear in three or more European Cup finals.

Should BVB triumph at Wembley, the 27-year gap between their triumphs would be the fourth longest in European Cup history, with Inter Milan having endured the longest wait of 45 years between their triumphs in 1965 and 2010.

This is Dortmund's eighth final in Uefa competition. In addition to their two previous Champions League appearances, they won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1965/66 – beating Liverpool 2-1 after extra time at Hampden Park in Glasgow – but lost in the Uefa Cup final in both 1992/93, to Juventus (1-3 h, 0-3 a) and 2001/02, to Feyenoord in Rotterdam (2-3). They also went down 3-1 on aggregate to Barcelona in the two-legged Uefa Super Cup in 1997 (0-2 a, 1-1 h) but beat Cruzeiro 2-0 in that year's European/South American Cup.

Mats Hummels and Marco Reus both played 90 minutes in that 2013 final.

Emre Can was a late substitute in Liverpool's 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in Kyiv in the 2018 Champions League final.

Niklas Süle was a first-half substitute as Bayern beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in Lisbon in the 2020 final.


Madrid have won a record 14 European Cups, and have triumphed in their last eight finals, all in the Uefa Champions League. Overall their final record is W14 L3:

In 2017 Madrid became the first side to make a successful Champions League title defence. They were the first team to retain the European Cup since Milan (1989, 1990). Their 2018 victory made them the first team to win the trophy three years in a row twice.

Luka Modrić and Dani Carvajal could appear in their sixth Champions League final victory for Madrid – matching Paco Gento's European Cup record.

In addition, Toni Kroos featured in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022 while Lucas Vázquez came on as a substitute in 2016 and Nacho has been a member of five victorious squads but only featured in the 2018 final.

Thibaut Courtois, Éder Militão, Ferland Mendy, Federico Valverde plus Vinícius Júnior and the injured David Alaba all started Madrid's 2022 final win, Dani Ceballos, Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo coming on as late substitutes and Andriy Lunin an unused replacement.

Having scored the only goal against Liverpool in 2022, Vinícius Júnior could become only the eighth player to find the net in more than one Champions League final.

Madrid's triumph in Saint-Denis two years ago was the 12th Champions League win for a Spanish side – five more than the next highest-ranked nation, England, and seven more than Italy. Germany (four) is the only other country to have recorded multiple victories.

This is Madrid's 34th Uefa final. In addition to their 17 European Cup appearances, they were Uefa Cup winners in 1985 and 1986 and European Cup Winners' Cup runners-up in 1971 and 1983. They lifted the Uefa Super Cup in 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2022 alongside defeats in 1998, 2000 and 2018, and won the European/South American Cup in 1960, 1998 and 2002, losing in 1966 and 2000.


Dortmund wins: 3

Real Madrid wins: 6

Draws: 5

Dortmund goals: 19

Real Madrid goals: 24

All 14 of the teams' previous meetings have come in the Champions League.

The sides' last fixtures, in 2017/18, proved a chastening experience for Dortmund, who lost 1-3 at home and 2-3 away against their Spanish rivals on their way to picking up only two points in Group H. Gareth Bale scored once and Cristiano Ronaldo twice in Madrid's Matchday 2 victory in Germany before Lucas Vázquez's late winner in Spain after early strikes from Borja Mayoral and Ronaldo had been cancelled out by a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double.

The teams had drawn 2-2 in both Germany and Spain in the 2016/17 group stage. Madrid twice led in Dortmund, through Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane; Aubameyang and, in the 87th minute, André Schürrle replied for Thomas Tuchel's BVB. Dortmund then secured first place in the section by coming from 2-0 down to snatch a point in Spain on Matchday 6, Karim Benzema's double (28, 53) putting Madrid in command, but goals from Aubameyang (60) and Marco Reus (88) giving the visitors the vital point.

In the 2013/14 quarterfinals, Madrid prevailed 3-2 on aggregate en route to lifting the trophy. Gareth Bale, Isco and Ronaldo earned Ancelotti's side a 3-0 first-leg lead before Dortmund, coached by Jürgen Klopp, narrowed the deficit with a 2-0 victory in Germany through two Reus strikes.

That offered a measure of revenge for Dortmund's victory in the previous season's semifinals. Robert Lewandowski was the star of the show as Dortmund reached their second Champions League final, the Poland international getting all four of the German side's goals in a 4-1 win in the home first leg, Ronaldo having made it 1-1. Dortmund progressed despite a 2-0 reverse in Madrid where Benzema and Sergio Ramos scored.

The teams had also faced off in that season's group stage, when Dortmund finished above Madrid with the help of a 2-1 home win – Lewandowski and Marcel Schmelzer scoring either side of Ronaldo – and a 2-2 draw in Madrid where Reus again featured on the scoresheet.

In the 2002/03 second group stage, Madrid came from behind to beat Dortmund on Matchday 3 in Group C thanks to goals from Raúl González and Brazilian striker Ronaldo, but needed a 92nd-minute Javier Portillo equaliser to rescue a 1-1 draw in Germany a week later. That proved crucial as the Spanish side edged out Dortmund by a single point to take second place in the section.

The sides had met for the first time in 1997/98, when Dortmund's defence of the Champions League they had won in Munich the previous year was ended by Madrid at the semifinal stage. A goal in each half from Fernando Morientes and Christian Karembeu in the Santiago Bernabéu first leg proved crucial, Jupp Heynckes' side holding on for a goalless draw in Dortmund en route to claiming Madrid's first European Cup in 32 years.



Record v Spanish clubs: W12 D12 L14 F56 A55

BVB have already faced Spanish opponents this season, beating Madrid's City rivals Atlético in the quarterfinals (1-2 a, 4-2 h).

That made Dortmund's record in knockout ties against Spanish clubs W7 L3.

The second-leg success against Atlético was only Dortmund's fourth victory in their last 14 matches against Liga clubs, home and away (D5 L5).

Dortmund were paired with Sevilla in last season's group stage, winning 4-1 in Spain before a 1-1 home draw. They had also beaten the Spanish side in the 2020/21 round of 16, winning 3-2 away before a 2-2 home draw with Erling Haaland scoring four of their five goals in the tie.

Last season's Bundesliga runners-up are in the Champions League for the 18th time overall and the eighth successive season. All but two of their last 11 campaigns have now extended into the knockout rounds.

In 2022/23, Edin Terzić's team were second in Group G behind eventual champions Manchester City before being knocked out by Chelsea in the round of 16 (1-0 h, 0-2 a).

This season Dortmund began with a 2-0 loss in Paris before being held 0-0 at home by Milan but breathed life into their Group F campaign by beating Newcastle away (1-0) and at home (2-0) and sealed progress with a 3-1 win at San Siro on Matchday 5, concluding the group stage with a 1-1 draw at home to Paris.

Dortmund drew 1-1 at PSV Eindhoven in the round of 16 first leg, progressing thanks to a 2-0 home win, and then overcame a 2-1 loss at Atlético de Madrid in the first leg of their quarterfinal to go through thanks to a 4-2 home success, that second-leg win ending a run of five successive defeats in quarterfinal matches.

They then defeated Paris 1-0 both home and away in the last four, the second-leg victory at the Parc des Princes only their second in their last 12 away Champions League knockout matches; they lost nine of those games.

Dortmund's record in Uefa penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:

6-5 v Auxerre, 1992/93 Uefa Cup semifinal

3-1 v Rangers, 1999/2000 Uefa Cup third round

2-4 v Club Brugge, 2003/04 Uefa Champions League third qualifying round

3-4 v Udinese, 2008/09 Uefa Cup first round


Record against German clubs: W41 D16 L24 F153 A121

Madrid have already faced three German clubs this season. They were paired with Union Berlin in Group C, Jude Bellingham scoring in the 94th-minute to secure a 1-0 home win on Matchday 1 before Dani Ceballos struck in the 89th minute of a 3-2 victory in Germany on Matchday 6.

They then overcame Leipzig in the last 16, a 1-0 first-leg victory in Germany preceding a 1-1 home draw, and Bayern in the semifinals (2-2 a, 2-1 h), Joselu scoring in the 88th and 91st minutes of the second leg to engineer a remarkable comeback.

A 3-2 loss at Leipzig on Matchday 5 last season is Madrid's only defeat in their last 20 matches against Bundesliga clubs, home and away (W13 D6).

Ancelotti's side also beat German opponents in the 2022 Uefa Super Cup, defeating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in Helsinki. That was Madrid's fourth Uefa final against opposition from Germany and a fourth victory, and a third game on neutral territory against a Bundesliga club. Aside from their European Cup final wins against Frankfurt in 1960 and Leverkusen in 2002, they also defeated Köln on aggregate in the two-legged Uefa Cup final in 1986 (5-1 h, 0-2 a).

This season's round of 16 meeting with Leipzig was Madrid's first knockout tie against a Bundesliga club since beating Bayern 4-3 on aggregate in the 2017/18 semifinals.

Madrid's record in knockout ties with German clubs in Uefa competition is now W20 L8. They have won each of their last ten ties against German opposition, scoring 41 goals in the process; their last defeat came against Dortmund in the 2012/13 semifinals (1-4 a, 2-0 h).

This is Madrid's 28th Champions League campaign, a competition record they share with Barcelona. They last missed out in 1996/97.

Madrid have now qualified for the knockout rounds in all 28 campaigns and have won their section 20 times including each of the last four.

Having claimed the club's 14th European Cup – and eighth Champions League, also a competition record – in 2021/22, Ancelotti's side then finished first in their section last season, winning four of their six games (D1 L1) before beating Liverpool in the round of 16 (5-2 a, 1-0 h). That set up a second successive quarterfinal against Chelsea, Madrid winning 2-0 home and away, before going out against Manchester City (1-1 h, 0-4 a).

The 4-0 defeat at City last season equalled Madrid's biggest Champions League loss.

This season, after seeing off Union Berlin on Matchday 1, Ancelotti's side have beaten both Napoli (3-2 a, 4-2 h) and Braga (2-1 a, 3-0 h) twice. They made it six group wins from six – matching their feat in 2011/12 and 2014/15 – with a 3-2 victory at Union.

A 1-0 win at Leipzig in the round of 16 first leg put Madrid in control of that tie, although they failed to win for the first time in this season's competition in the return, which ended 1-1.

Ancelotti's side then came through an epic quarterfinal against City, the first leg finishing 3-3 in Madrid and the Manchester return 1-1 before the Spanish side prevailed 4-3 on penalties and saw off Bayern in the last four thanks to Joselu's late intervention (2-2 a, 2-1 h).

Madrid's record in five Uefa penalty shoot-outs is W3 L2:

5-6 v Crvena zvezda, 1974/75 European Cup Winners' Cup quarterfinal

3-1 v Juventus, 1986/87 European Cup second round

1-3 v Bayern München, 2011/12 Uefa Champions League semifinal

5-3 v Atlético de Madrid, 2015/16 Uefa Champions League final

4-3 v Manchester City, 2023/24 Uefa Champions League quarterfinal