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Apr 10, 2013

'Dortmund miracle' stuns Germany

Borussia Dortmund's late comeback to beat Malaga 3-2 and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League was compared to the memorable 1999 final in the German press.

• Uersfeld: The beauty of football
• Dortmund supporters' impressive tifo

Dortmund, having drawn 0-0 in Spain, endured a difficult night at the Westfalenstadion, falling 2-1 behind to the visitors and looking doomed to a quarter-final exit, but injury-time goals from Marco Reus and Felipe Santana gave them the most incredible of victories.

The German media drew comparisons with the 1999 final - when Manchester United produced a similar comeback to stun Bayern Munich - and praised the hosts for their undying determination.

"What could have been the final nail in the coffin was followed by total football madness," Berlin's Der Tagesspiegel wrote. "Reus equalised in the first minute of injury time and then BVB threw everything upfront and were rewarded with Santana's goal and a victory they could not have dreamed of. Dortmund went crazy. It was a historic occasion that generations to come will talk about."

The papers were not shy to point out that Dortmund had put in what was most probably their worst Champions League performance of the season, but the emphasis was firmly on their stunning recovery.

German weekly Die Zeit wrote of the enigmatic beauty of football.

"The spectators reacted with a mix of euphoria and bewilderment," it said. "They had just witnessed something surreal. They had just witnessed a Borussia Dortmund XI putting their name down into football history."

Der Spiegel added: "It is loud in Dortmund's stadium most of the time. But it might never have been as loud as this. On this evening, one of the biggest parties in Europe was held in Dortmund."

German football magazine kicker headlined its piece: "1999 reloaded!!! BVB bring themselves back to life in 70 seconds." The report added: "The sensational ending brought back memories of the 1999 Champions League, where Bayern lost a safe lead against Manchester United in two minutes."

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, under the headline "Madness comes at the very end", also referenced Manchester United's famous win.

However, referencing Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp's reference to a "great night", there was also stern criticism of the officials, who failed to spot that both Malaga's second goal and Dortmund's winner were offside.

The paper wrote: "Dortmund's winner came from a double offside position - a dramatic decision by the referee that will lead to a lot of discussion. The decision becomes no more logical with the knowledge that Mr Thomson from Scotland did not see the offside before Malaga's 1-2 goal. Thus this 'great night' takes a hit that Jurgen Klopp most probably will not like."

Nonetheless, the mood of the media was perhaps best summed up by the headline in the popular tabloid Bild: "The Dortmund miracle".

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