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Apr 24, 2013

Robert Lewandowski scores 4 goals

DORTMUND, Germany -- Robert Lewandowski scored four goals as Borussia Dortmund beat Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday and took a huge step toward reaching the club's second Champions League final.

With a victory in the first leg of the semifinal, Dortmund, the only unbeaten side remaining in the competition, made it six wins from six at home and extended Madrid's run of six consecutive defeats in Germany.

Lewandowski opened the scoring in the eighth minute, only for Cristiano Ronaldo to equalize against the run of play two minutes before the interval.

Lewandowski beat the offside trap to claim his second in the 50th, and the Poland striker completed his hat trick in stunning fashion five minutes later.

He rounded off the scoring with a penalty in the 67th, after Xabi Alonso felled Marco Reus.

Following 2012 finalist Bayern Munich's 4-0 hammering of Barcelona on Tuesday, Dortmund's first-leg victory was a further indication ahead of next week's return legs in Spain that the balance of power in European football might be shifting.

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho praised Lewandowski but said Madrid did themselves no favors when it came to dealing with the Poland international.

"When we know everything, absolutely everything about Lewandowski -- we studied every detail possible and we lose him in three balls -- and we know exactly what he does, and it is of course very disappointing," the Portuguese manager said.

"When I lose and I don't deserve to lose, for me it is a problem. When I lose and I deserve to lose, it's a situation that I accept.

"The first goal we lost the ball in easy possession, and after that we lost the player. His movement in the box, we know everything about him, so of course he deserves credit for what he did but we gave him a big support for him to be the man of the match."

After a build-up dominated by the announcement that Mario Goetze will depart Dortmund for Bayern in the summer, his current side made a blistering start.

Raphael Varane cleared Marcel Schmelzer's early cross but Dortmund soon had a clear opportunity.

Marco Reus, of whom even more will be expected once Goetze departs, isolated Varane and surged through the visiting defense. His shot was parried by Diego Lopez, and Lewandowski, reluctant to over-stretch, failed to tuck away the loose ball.

The goal arrived in the eighth minute, though, Goetze swinging in a superb cross from the left for Lewandowski, this time reaching out a long right leg after losing his marker Pepe, to sidefoot home.

Real began to establish themselves in the game as the tempo settled down, and a 30-yard free kick provided their first sight of goal. Ronaldo's dipping effort was beaten away by keeper Roman Weidenfeller.

Another wonderful run by Reus was broken up on the edge of the box, and Fabio Coentrao's interception then halted a lightning break.

Jakub Blaszczykowski caused problems with a surge into the Real penalty area, past Coentrao, but Gonzalo Higuain had tracked him all the way back and the striker made a superb challenge as the last man.

And having excelled defensively, Higuain then played his part at the other end as he seized on Mats Hummels' poor back-pass and squared for Ronaldo to slot the ball home.

That left the scores level at the break but Lewandowski restored his side's lead five minutes after the restart.

With Real appealing for offside as Reus' pass found the Pole, he kept his head, turned quickly on the ball and poked low past Diego Lopez.

And it was soon 3-1 as Schmelzer's mis-hit shot deflected to Lewandowski, who brilliantly dragged the ball back away from Pepe and fired it into the top corner.

Lopez had to be at his best to keep Real in the game when Ilkay Gundogan drove through the defense and punched a rising effort at goal, which the keeper tipped over the bar.

And Dortmund was then awarded a penalty for Xabi Alonso's blatant shove in the back of Reus. Lewandowski slammed the penalty straight down the middle to make it 4-1.

The striker put a slight blot on his copybook with a booking for blocking Sergio Ramos but soon threatened a fifth goal with a 25-yard curler pushed over by Lopez.

A tackle between Hummels and Ronaldo punctured the ball and meant a replacement was needed, and Weidenfeller was injured in another challenge with the Portugal international.

Four added minutes passed with Varane's shot, which flashed narrowly wide, the only sight of goal.

Mourinho said his side can overcome the three-goal deficit in next week's return leg.

"I think they were the best team by far and won every individual battle on the pitch and were stronger than us, more aggressive physically and tougher mentally, so they deserved it," Mourinho told Sky Sports 1.

"How it went from 1-1 to 4-1, I really don't know because everything happened in a very short space of time in the far goal from the position where I was.

"But we lost easy possession, and we couldn't cope with their counter-attacking and their transition.

"We prepared for the game so well, in every detail, as we always do, especially in a semifinal.

"We are very confident about the work we did. I think many of the boys didn't perform and many of the boys didn't have a good night, and this is exactly when you cannot make mistakes because at club level this is the second-most important match in the world of football.

"The first one is the Champions League final, the second one is the Champions League semifinal, so when you don't perform on a very special day, it is very disappointing."

Asked whether a place in the final was still a realistic possibility, Mourinho said: "It is of course very difficult but in football it can happen."

Information from The Associated Press and Press Association was used in this report.

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