Drama queens Dortmund shine on European stage

Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:39am EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

(Reuters) - Last season's Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund seem to flourish when under the utmost pressure in Europe with their 2-1 win at Olympique Marseille on Wednesday further proof of their love for late drama.

For Juergen Klopp's team, the win in France and qualification for the knockout stages was a huge morale-boosting result after a shaky start to the season.

Having dropped to third in the Bundesliga after losing to rivals Bayern Munich, talk of a first crisis for the 2011 and 2012 league champions quickly surfaced.

But despite a string of absentees, Dortmund battled on to win their last two Group F games in Europe to book a spot in the next round by the slimmest of margins after they finished level on 12 points with Arsenal and Napoli.

They left it late on Wednesday, with home-grown talent Kevin Grosskreutz netting the winner that saw them through three minutes from time as group winners courtesy of a better head-to-head record.

"The game had a Malaga-style intensity," Klopp was quick to admit in reference to last season's quarter-final win over the Spaniards when they scored two goals in stoppage time in yet another dramatic European encounter.

"My boys played their hearts out and were concentrated to the limit, even though there was pressure after Napoli took the lead (against Arsenal)."

Dortmund, whose stunning run to last year's final before losing to Bundesliga rivals Bayern, looked to be on their way out a few weeks ago after losing at home to Arsenal.   Continued...

Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda (R) fails to catch the ball as Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski scores the first goal against Olympique Marseille during their Champions League soccer match at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, December 11, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson