Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Reus´ Dortmund send-off ends in heartbreaking Champions League defeat

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Jun 2024

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Borussia Dortmund’s hopes of sending Marco Reus off with a Champions League title ended in heartbreak as they lost 2-0 to Real Madrid on Saturday.

After 12 years with his boyhood club, Reus announced the Wembley showpiece would be his final match for Dortmund.

But despite a dominant first-half performance, they could not beat the serial winners, who scored two late goals through Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior to win their 15th European crown.

Edin Terzic’s side were given just a 21.4 per cent chance of victory by the Opta supercomputer before kick-off, but they came out of the blocks quickly with the aim of flipping the script.

Dortmund’s expected goals (xG) figure of 1.68 in the opening period was the largest by a team in the first half of a Champions League final on record (since 2013-14), and was also the highest by an opponent against Madrid in the first half this term.

Their two big chances fell to Niclas Fullkrug and Karim Adeyemi, the former striking the post and the latter forcing a good save out of Thibaut Courtois, having earlier wasted a one-on-one chance with the Belgian goalkeeper.

The German team were solid in defence too, forcing Madrid into half-time without having a single shot on target – the first time that has happened to any team in a Champions League final since Tottenham versus Liverpool in 2019.

Julian Brandt looked to be key for the Black and Yellow, creating four chances, the most in a Champions League final since Luka Modric against Atletico Madrid in 2015-16 (seven), though that tally would be equalled by Toni Kroos in the second half.

Reus was brought on for his 424th and final BVB appearance in the 72nd minute, hoping to sign off in the perfect way, but it was another departing German that soon caught the eye.

Kroos, playing for Madrid for the last time ahead of his retirement, set up Carvajal for Madrid’s opener just two minutes later.

Gregor Kobel saved 46 of the 56 shots on target he faced this season in the competition, and he made three big stops to keep Dortmund in the contest at 1-0.

However, an Ian Maatsen mistake led to Madrid’s second, with Dortmund conceding in the final 15 minutes of a Champions League game for the first time this campaign as Jude Bellingham slipped in Vinicius to convert.

Dortmund have now only won one of their last five finals in major European competitions (3-1 versus Juventus in the 1997 Champions League), losing each of their last three in a row (against Feyenoord in 2002, Bayern Munich in 2013 and Madrid in 2024).

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