The draw for the semi-final promised the allure of a flare filled Spanish final or a pragmatic, utilitarian Teutonic tangle. In the end the semis provided several shocks that no one in their wildest imagination could have foreseen.
Borussia Dortmund faced Ronaldo and co at the Westfalenstadion in a clash of efficient and cohesive team ethic versus one man plus very experienced back up that was more than used to Champions` League semi-finals though little beyond that.
Reus gave early notice of Dortmund`s attacking prowess with a shot that Lopez could only parry into the path of Lewandowski but the Pole failed to net the rebound. It was the striker`s last error on a night when he rewrote the Champions` League record books against the club that holds most of them.
Not only did he become the first player to register a Champions` League hat-trick against Real Madrid but he is the first to claim a semi-final treble in the competition. He went one better by adding a fourth to set a record that may never be bettered.
Eight minutes after his earlier failure to capitalise Lewandowski escaped the shackles of Pepe to convert Gotze`s cross at the far post.
With Sven Bender having a blinder in midfield, blunting almost every Madrid attack before it could get going by winning the ball tenaciously, the signs were not good for Jose Mourinho`s men who were involved in a third consecutive CL semi final under the Special One.
Varane tripped Reus but the referee waved away Dortmund penalty claims and inside a minute Ronaldo levelled with his 50th Champions` League goal after a poor Hummels` back pass. An interval score line of 1-1 seemed to indicate Real had weathered the storm but Dortmund carved out a second goal five minutes after the restart when Reus played Lewandowki in to make it 2-1.
Five minutes later the Polish striker was even more impressive when Schmeizer`s miss hit shot fell to him and after a sublime touch to control the ball and drag it away from Pepe Lewandowki completed his historic hat-trick with an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
With the home fans baying for their heroes to at least match the previous evening Bayern tally against Barcelona Dortmund duly obliged and Alonso served up a gift when he up ended Reus in the penalty area and who else but Lewandowski was going to complete a night of personal triumph by converting from 12 yards.
Apart from Lewandowski`s personal achievements on the night the result was the worst ever endured by Jose Mourinho in 106 Champions` League games.
The only blemish on the night for Jurgen Klopp was the flimsiest of lifelines offered by Ronaldo`s landmark away goal. In the post match euphoria of one of the great European nights not enough praise went the way of Dortmund `keeper Roman Weidenfeller. Had he not denied Ronaldo in the dying seconds the second leg would have been less of a cake walk than some anticipated.
Real began the second leg with evident belief that they could overturn a three goal deficit and in the first period carved out more than enough really good openings to have wiped out and surpassed Dortmund`s advantage. Higuain was the main culprit, his mind seemingly elsewhere other than the Madrid capital that night. Unfortunately Madrid wasted all their chances. Some observers may have thought the men in all white were unfazed by their profligacy in front of goal believing they would go on creating until the visitors` defence was breached and then the floodgates would open. Realists knew that as the list of unconverted openings grew so Real`s chance of reaching the final diminished.
Not surprisingly Real could not maintain their opening onslaught but even the ball boys at the Bernabeau were at warp speed to ensure the ball reached their heroes as quickly as possible.
Then with ten minutes remaining, when many neutrals had probably switched off, the home side went into a distinctly non Real mode. They threw everything at Dortmund including caution to the wind, even throwing that died-in-the-wool `they shall not pass` defender Sergio Ramos up front as a makeshift centre forward.
When Benzema pulled a goal back with seven minutes remaining and then Ramos showed himself to be two or three shades better than a `make shift` striker with a rare goal, the unbelievable looked likely. One more goal would do it.
But Dortmund were not to be denied. Perhaps driven by the prospect of rubbing Bavarian noses even more into the ground at Wembley Klopps men prevailed despite a first Champions` League defeat of the season.