With the seconds ticking away on their Champions League season, Borussia Dortmund found two goals in injury time for a comeback win against Malaga to advance to the semifinals.
At the end of the regular 90 minutes, Dortmund fans were praying for a miracle: Malaga was leading Dortmund 2-1 in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal, and Dortmund needed not one but two goals to secure a trip to the semifinal. The end of the season seemed nigh; it was only a matter of minutes.
But the prayers of 80,000 Dortmund fans are hard to ignore, and the football gods smiled on Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night. Two goals in injury time gave Dortmund a 3-2 over Malaga, sending them to the Champions League semifinal for the first time in 15 years.
"An amazing night that I'll never forget," said Dortmund's coach Jürgen Klopp in an interview with Sky television after the game. "We were all on the brink of a heart attack."
Dortmund came into the match in a must-win situation due to their 0-0 draw the previous week in Malaga. In that game, Dortmund missed a number of excellent chances for goals, and could have come into Tuesday's second leg with a comfortable lead on aggregate.
Instead, after 25 minutes, the pressure was on as Malaga's Joaquin, left wide open on a set piece, headed in the guests' first goal.
Dortmund regrouped in the latter part of the half and equalized through Robert Lewandowski in the 40th minute, and the teams went into the locker room tied 1-1.
If the result held, Malaga would advance on away goals, putting Dortmund under the gun to get another goal. Things became extremely urgent in the 82nd minute, when Malaga substitute Eliseu put the visitors ahead 2-1. Instant replays of the goal showed that there was a very good case to be made that Eliseu was offsides.
A double last-gasp
As regular time ticked away, four minutes of injury time were added on. Just 240 seconds for Dortmund – playing second fiddle to early champs Bayern Munich in the league and falling victim to the same foe in the German Cup – to salvage hope for the season's final remaining chance at glory.
One minute in to extra time saw Marco Reus in perfect position to pick up a loose ball after Felipe Santana was tackled by Jesus Gamez in front of the goal to score the equalizer.
Moments later, Marcel Schmelzer tossed a throw in to Lewandowski, who crossed into the area. Julian Schieber fielded the ball and passed to Marco Reus, who put the ball across the goal. The ensuing ricochets will be a Dortmund highlight for years to come, but Santana finally managed to get the tip of his boot on the ball and nudge it over the line. This goal, too, appeared to be offsides, evening out the apparent blown call for Eliseu's goal.
Klopp called the game the worst of the current Champions League season, and acknowledged that his team would not win the title playing like that.
"There is one very disappointed team in this moment and one lucky team," he said.
Dortmund's Champions League run has not seen them lose a game yet – the only team in the competition to do so.
In Tuesday's other quarterfinal match, Galatasaray upset Real Madrid at home with a 3-2 win, but Real's previous 3-0 result ensured they went through to the semifinal on aggregate.
On Wednesday evening, Bayern Munich already have a 2-0 home win under their belt as they travel to Italy to face Juventus. Barcelona and Paris St. Germain will settle the score after playing to a 2-2 draw last week. Barcelona have the advantage of the two away goals in that matchup.
Once the two remaining teams are determined, the draw for the semifinal will take place on Friday.