For a while, they recreated the magic of 2013. But Dortmund just fell short in their Champions League quarter-final, beating Real Madrid in the second leg 2-0 - but losing the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
After that 3-0 drubbing in Madrid, Jürgen Klopp's men needed to reproduce last season's pyrotechnics against the same Spanish opponents on Tuesday night (08.04.2014). But few thought that, given Dortmund's myriad crippling absences, they were anything like the team that put four past Real Madrid in last year's semi-final.
That feeling was only enhanced by the sluggish start the Germans produced. For the first 15 minutes of the game, Real Madrid comfortably controlled possession and looked like they needed to do little to hold off Dortmund, with or without Robert Lewandowski, their star striker returning from suspension.
In fact, the game turned on a Madrid mistake. Angel Di Maria should have put the game out of reach in the 17th minute, when the Spanish side were awarded a penalty after a flailing hand from Lukasz Piszczek touched the ball on the edge of the area. Roman Weidenfeller's save boosted the side, and for the next 15 minutes BVB recreated some of the energy of the last two seasons.
The first goal, on the 24th minute, came from a long diagonal ball from deep in Dortmund's half that Madrid central defender Pepe haplessly helped on into the path of Marco Reus, who rounded the keeper and slid the ball in.
Suddenly BVB rediscovered the high pressing game that had let them punch above their weight in the past, and literally panicked Madrid off the ball several times. When Lewandowski broke into the area - after a delightful overlapping run - in the 37th minute and hit the post from his ensuing shot, Reus was there to slam the ball into the roof of the net. The stadium erupted. With seven minutes left, it looked like Dortmund would wipe out Real's lead inside the first half - Mats Hummels came close when he forced a brilliant save from Iker Casillas.
Real Madrid were mighty relieved to make it to half time, and regrouped effectively in the second half, with Gareth Bale suddenly causing all kinds of trouble in the area.
But the extraordinary effort they put in the first half gave out as the second half wore on. Fatally, the chances they had fell to Henrikh Mkhitaryan - who had missed a couple in Spain last week. A sumptuous pass from Reus left him to round Casillas, but the jinxed Armenian could only hit the post.
Klopp's verdict summed up the game better than anyone: "You have to preserve this game, make a video of it and show it to all the teams who lose their first leg 3-0, to tell them, you can do it," he told Sky TV. "It was unbelievable."
Meanwhile in the other quarter-final in London, Chelsea put out French giants Paris St Germain on away goals, with a 2-0 win that cancelled out the 3-1 deficit of the first leg.