Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Real Madrid: Los Blancos demonstrate inevitability once again

From pitch invaders to pyrotechnics and everything in-between, the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League had it all. A first-half dominated by Borussia Dortmund ultimately counted for nothing, as Real Madrid’s quality in front of goal shone through in the second period.

Goals from Dani Carvajal and Vini Jr were enough to seal a fifteenth UEFA Champions League title for Carlo Ancelotti’s los Blancos, with die Schwarzgelben defeated on the hallowed Wembley turf again.

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As it happened

With the first few minutes of play heavily disrupted by three pitch invaders, it understandably took longer than usual for both sides to settle into their usual rhythm. Attacking towards their own supporters in the first half, Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde was perhaps unlucky not to open the scoring with ten minutes on the clock, leaving Gregor Kobel unfazed as he blasted over the bar.

But from that point onwards, it was the Dortmund show – as evidenced by their half-time xG of 1.82, die Schwarzgelben were utterly dominant, but simply lacked that clinical touch in front of goal.

Julian Brandt sliced just wide before the quarter-hour mark, before a sublime defence-splitting ball from Mats Hummels seemingly left Karim Adeyemi destined to score; a remarkable recovery from Dani Carvajal saw his tight-angled shot put behind for a corner.

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It would be the first of three chances within quick succession for Edin Terzić’s men: a game of figurative pinball played inside the penalty area resulted in Niclas Füllkrug striking the base of the post. The striker should really have opened the scoring five minutes later, but he wasn’t able to get sufficient power on a headed effort after Thibaut Courtois had denied Adeyemi.

While goalmouth action did momentarily hit a lull, die Borussen sparked life back into the contest just before the break. Brandt’s decision to play in the central Marcel Sabitzer came close to paying off; his long-range drive was palmed behind by the Belgian goalkeeper.

The second half, by contrast, would be largely dictated by one man – Dani Carvajal. The Spaniard was unlucky not to open the scoring shortly before the hour mark rolled around; Kobel was simply an immoveable force between the Dortmund posts.

But as the final quarter-hour drew nearer, it was the right-back who would rise to the challenge. Marco Reus had been introduced for his final Dortmund appearance in a bid to break the deadlock – but it was Carvajal who would achieve such a feat, nodding home a corner from the edge of the six-yard box to cue euphoria amongst los Merengues.

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Dortmund looked to be doing well at keeping the damage to a minimum: a crucial Nico Schlotterbeck intervention saw Jude Bellingham’s low effort forced wide, and another magnificent Kobel save denied Eduardo Camavinga’s strike that seemed destined for the top corner.

But Real Madrid are inevitable. That should be no surprise by now, and Vini Jr arrived on the scene in the 83rd minute to spark further celebrations when a gap in the Dortmund defence was exploited – allowing the Brazilian to curl one across the face of goal, with Kobel’s fingertips not strong enough to deny him.

Füllkrug thought he’d put die Borussen on course for a late thriller when he bundled home a header of his own with three minutes of regulation time remaining – but the linesman’s flag was promptly raised for an offside offence against the forward, and VAR upheld the original decision.

The lineups

BVB: Kobel; Maatsen, Schlotterbeck, Hummels, Ryerson; Sabitzer, Can; Adeyemi, Brandt, Sancho; Füllkrug

RMA: Courtois; Mendy, Nacho, Rüdiger, Carvajal; Kroos, Camavinga, Valverde; Bellingham; Vini Jr, Rodrygo

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