Robert Lewandowski showed exactly why he is at the top of many clubs summer transfer wish list after scoring all of Borussia Dortmund’s goals during a marvellous 4-1 win over Real Madrid at Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday evening.
And the rout completed a tremendous week for German football following Bayern Munich’s 4-0 hammering of Barcelona at the Allianz Arena just 24 hours earlier which means that an all German final now looks a likely possibility at Wembley Stadium next month.
Inevitably galvanised by Bayern’s success on Tuesday night and the recent announcement of star man Mario Gotze’s pre-arranged transfer to their main adversaries, Dortmund flew out of the starting blocks with obvious intent and forced a crucial advantage after just eight minutes when Lewandowski turned the ball home clinically from close range, Gotze the incisive provider.
Many would have questioned Gotze’s commitment to the Black Yellows prior to the game after agreeing his switch to Bavaria at such a vital stage of Dortmund’s campaign; however his presence seemed to be felt to even greater effect than usual as the home side dominated their heavyweight opponents throughout the first period.
But a lapse in concentration cost Dortmund just moments before half time as a miscued back pass from the usually composed Mats Hummels was pounced upon by Gonzalo Higuain who fed Cristiano Ronaldo to net a far from deserved equaliser.
The setback only served to motivate Dortmund further however and they took the lead again shortly after the break when Lewandowski fired in from close range following excellent work down the right flank from Marco Reus.
And on 55 minutes, Jurgen Klopp’s men assumed absolute control when Lewandowski completed his hat-trick – the Pole tricking his way around centre-back Pepe before shooting superbly past a hapless Diego Lopez in the Madrid goal.
Dortmund may have been forgiven for consolidating at 3-1 but they were rewarded further for their optimism and attacking bravery on 67 minutes when a penalty was given after Xabi Alonso clumsily felled Reus in the area.
There could only be one man to step up to the plate and indeed it was Lewandowski who made no mistake from the spot to round off a sensational individual performance and a resounding victory for the Bundesliga outfit.
Real boss Jose Mourinho will be left with much to contemplate on ahead of the second leg at the Bernabeu in a week’s time and the same can certainly be said for Tito Villanova after he witnessed his Barcelona team capitulate in Munich on Tuesday.
Goals from Mario Gomez, Arjen Robben and a brace from Thomas Muller condemned the Catalans to an embarrassing defeat in a clash which potentially demonstrated a shift in power at the fore of the European game.
So often mesmeric and unplayable, Barca were made to look ordinary and sluggish by a Bayern Munich side who must rank as one of the best in the clubs long, illustrious history.
Champions League triumph in May will be required to certify just that but few would back against Jupp Heynckes men now after a display which will live long in the memory of football lovers across the continent.