Hummels seals Champions League final place for Dortmund as PSG crash out

It was a night when Borussia Dortmund penned one of the finest chapters in their history, a seemingly unremarkable team – low on stellar names – doing something utterly astonishing.

It has felt as though they have been written off repeatedly this season, starting with when they were plunged into the Champions’ League group of death. They won that with a measure of comfort, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, Milan and Newcastle.

After they got past PSV Eindhoven in the last 16, Atlético Madrid were supposed to be too good for them in the quarter-finals – wrong again – while here, PSG were fancied to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of this semi-final.

Dortmund are at an awfully low ebb domestically, lagging fifth in the Bundesliga. But something has stirred in them whenever they have heard this competition’s aria, never more so than at the Parc des Princes. Dortmund looked like the royalty, the team that have regularly struggled to take the decisive step over the past decade or so, stunning PSG with their collective resolve, their bodies-on-the-line defending.

They rode their luck. It was always going to be a part of it at this pulsating venue. PSG had hit the woodwork twice in the first leg. Here, they did so a further four times – all of the near misses coming during a second half when they threw everything they had at Dortmund. It was incredible theatre.

Mats Hummels got the goal that meant everything to Dortmund, the 35-year-old rising unchallenged to head home from a corner shortly after the interval. He is a veteran of the club’s previous Champions League final appearance – the 2013 loss to Bayern Munich at Wembley. Dortmund are heading back there again and they could even meet Bayern, who are locked at 2-2 against Real Madrid in the other semi-final ahead of Wednesday night’s second leg.

The Dortmund celebrations exploded like a firecracker upon the full-time whistle, the players streaming over to the section by one of the corner flags that housed their supporters, a seething mass of euphoria. The players bounced up and down in front of them for what seemed like an age; they did not want to tear themselves away. The idea now will be to emulate the Class of 97 – Matthias Sammer, Paul Lambert, Karl-Heinz Riedle, Lars Ricken et al, who conquered Juventus to collect the club’s lone European Cup.

Dortmund’s joy contrasted vividly with PSG’s dejection. Luis Enrique’s team have sewn up the Ligue 1 title and they will face Lyon in the French Cup final. The treble had been on. This is a new-look team, with an emphasis on the collective in the post-Lionel Messi and Neymar era, even if one shining star has remained. Kylian Mbappé, though, will depart in the summer, the dream send-off having turned to dust.

Source – Hummels seals Champions League final place for Dortmund as PSG crash out | Champions League | The Guardian