The Road to Wembley: Borussia Dortmund

Lars Baron

Borussia Dortmund weren't supposed to be in the Champions League final but thanks to an outstanding performance in the group stages, a little bit of stoppage time magic, BVB find the European Cup within their grasp.

Borussia Dortmund arrive at the 2013 UEFA Champions League final as a bit of a dark horse -- or underdog if you like -- after overcoming the toughest group in the tournament group stages, pulling off an improbable stoppage time comeback in the quarterfinals and toppling Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid in the semifinals.

Jürgen Klopp and his side weren't supposed to be here but now that they've nearly reach the peak of European soccer, they'll be out to go ahead and just win the whole damn thing.

Before the final kicks off though, let's look back at how Dortmund arrived at Wembley Stadium for a shot a history.

Dortmund qualified for the Champion League by winning the Bundesliga in 2012 and earning an automatic place in the group stages for the 2012/13 tournament. On August 30th they were drawn into Group D along with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax. With three league champions in the group, it was quickly labeled the group of death and many gave Dortmund an outside shot at qualifying out of the group.

Dortmund opened the group stages with a win over Ajax and a draw against Manchester City, but people really started paying attention after a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in which fullback Marcel Schmelzer scored the winner midway through the second half. BVB impressed again with a 2-2 draw against Madrid at the Bernebaú, being denied the victory by a Mesut Özil goal in the 89th minute. Dortmund finished strong with victories over Ajax and City to finish first in the group, a finish few predicted or expected.

BVB faced Shakhtar Donetsk in the Round of 16, coming back twice in the first leg in the Ukraine to earn a 2-2 draw before dispatching Shakhtar 3-0 in the second leg.

In the quarterfinals Dortmund faced Malaga in what would become one of the best ties of the this year's tournament. After a scoreless first leg in Spain in which Dortmund wasted a ton of chances to take control, the teams returned to Germany and played possibly the most exciting match of the knockout round. The match went to halftime tied 1-1 after goals from Joaquín and Robert Lewandowski. Malaga looked to have boked their spot in the semfinals after Eliseu scored -- the goal was offside but the linesman missed the call -- with eight minutes left to play.

Needing two goals to advance, Dortmund pulled off the miraculous comeback scoring twice in stoppage time to win 3-2. Marco Reus and Felipe Santana were the heroes and in a twist of irony, Dortmund's winning goal was also offside.

With a place in the final on the line Dortmund met Real Madrid in the semifinals. Madrid were one of the favorites to win the Champions League and once again many wrote off BVB despite their solid play against the Spanish giants in the group stages.

Once again Dortmund proved the critics wrong hammering Madrid 4-1 in the first leg behind four goals from Robert Lewandowski. Despite an all out assault on the Dortmund end by Madrid, the Germans held out for 82 minutes before Madrid scored twice late to create a stressful five minutes of stoppage time for BVB. A couple smart substitutions by Klopp settled down his team and they held on in the final minutes to advance to the final.

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