Borussia Dortmund never quits.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Marco Reus led a late comeback charge Wednesday against Real Madrid, ensuring Dortmund finished ahead of the Santiago Bernabeu outfit to claim first place in Group F.
Facing a 2-0 deficit with just a half hour left to play, Dortmund looked like it had conceded the top spot to its Spanish counterpart. Karim Benzema scored twice to establish Madrid’s advantage, and the Champions League holder showed no surrender as it continued to search for a third marker.
But Aubameyang capitalised on a well-worked buildup to get Dortmund on the scoresheet in the 60th minute, and two minutes from time, the Gabonese teamed up with Reus on a furious counter-attack to secure a favourable 2-2 draw.
However, there may be little reward for the courageous fightback, considering the quality of opposition from the pool of potential knockout opponents.
By virtue of topping the group, BVB can now expect a Round of 16 tie against one of Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, Manchester City, Porto, or Sevilla.
Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller – Dortmund’s No. 2 behind starter Roman Burki – made six key saves to keep the visitor competitive.
His teammates took the opportunity and ran with it.
“Our will and courage was crucial,” Weidenfeller said. “I am in love with these evenings.”
Aubameyang’s initial tap-in kick-started Dortmund’s reply, but Reus’ effort made history.
It was Dortmund’s 21st goal in the Champions League group stage, surpassing four other teams to set a new record.