Some poor goalkeeping from Iker Casillas handed a win to Borussia Dortmund, but it was a well-deserved win on the balance of play.
Borussia Dortmund prevailed 2-1 in an entertaining game over Real Madrid thank to goals from Robert Lewandowski and Marcel Schmelzer cancelling out Cristiano Ronaldo's equaliser.
The hosts had not started the better team in what was a scrappy, nervous first half, with neither side able to get a grip on possession or put their opponents under much pressure. Both defences looked nervous, with Real Madrid having to field Raphael Varane at centre-back as well as Michael Essien at left-back.
Midway through the first half, Sami Khedira's withdrawal through injury proved, directly or otherwise, to be the catalyst for the game to open up. His replacement Luka Modric, while improving Madrid's passing, allowed Mario Gotze to roam in front of the Real backline unchecked, and the German playmaker almost set up a goal immediately when he cut the ball back for Sebastian Kehl to send in a fierce drive which Iker Casillas tipped over the bar.
Shortly afterwards, with Real Madrid's defence all at sea, it was Robert Lewandowski who gave the hosts the lead. A poor pass from Pepe allowed the waiting Kehl to intercept, and the Dortmund captain played in Lewandowski, who had escaped into an ocean of space between Madrid's dawdling centre-backs. A smart finish past Iker Casillas' near post put Dortmund 1-0 up.
Their lead didn't last long, however, with Cristiano Ronaldo equalising at the other end. Mesut Ozil was also given a criminal amount of space in midfield, and punished the hosts with a perfectly-weighted pass to Ronaldo, who finishe with a gorgeous chip to cancel out Dortmund's lead.
In the second half, the game regressed into a more tense affair, with both sides sitting deeper as they attempted to exert their control over the game, and Dortmund reluctant to attack in numbers despite the wobbly Madrid defence. Casillas had to be alert when Gotze, again unmarked, fired goalwards from Lukasz Piszczek's cut-back.
In the end, it was Iker Casillas' lack of composure which cost Real Madrid the match - Iker Casillas had made a few important saves but looked uncomfortable with crosses all evening, and eventually pushed one out directly into the path of Marcel Schmelzer, who had completely escaped his marker with Raphael Varane nowhere to be seen. One simple tap-in later, and Dortmund were 2-1 up.
The hosts could have doubled their lead shortly afterwards, with Pepe being left in no-mans land thanks to a lack of support from his teammates, and shoving Gotze down recklessly in the area, but the referee waved play on.
It was a deserved victory for Dortmund, although they were fortunate in the end that their gameplan of not attacking in numbers proved enough to beat Real Madrid thanks to the visitors' mistakes. Jose Mourinho may be left cursing his alienation of Ricardo Carvalho, as his makeshift defence looks ill-equipped to take on the better sides in Europe. Dortmund were far from brilliant, and a winnable game has resulted in Real having a potentially difficult task in qualifying. City's woes should ensure they still make it, but they must improve in order to do so.