B-V-Briefing: Crunch time for the Black and Yellows

It was an exciting week for Borussia Dortmund, booking a place in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, and holding their own against Europe's most in-form team.
Borussia Dortmund v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Bundesliga / Leon Kuegeler/GettyImages
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This past week was perhaps the most positive of the season so far for Borussia Dortmund fans. Last Tuesday, BVB went up against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

The Spaniards had won the first leg 2-1, so Borussia Dortmund had their work cut out for them. It was a dramatic match, which saw Edin Terzic's side take the lead through a pair of first-half goals, before conceding twice after half-time to fall behind. Then, Dortmund scored another pair of quick-fire goals to win the tie in dramatic fashion.

Borussia Dortmund will face Paris Saint Germain in what will be their first Champions League semifinals appearance since 2013. For more on my immediate reaction, check out my three takeaways article from last week, or stream last Friday’s episode of the podcast, Dortmund Dispatch, where we discuss the win.

The past weekend’s match was against the undefeated Bayer Leverkusen, and Dortmund both did and did not disappoint at the same time.

While both sets of attacking players struggled at times, the BVB defence was quite strong. The Borussia Dortmund back four showed great tenacity and resolve, especially while Leverkusen dictated play.

Finally, some great link-up play between Julian Brandt and Marcel Sabitzer fed a ball to Niklas Füllkrug who volleyed a shot past Lukas Hradecky to give BVB the lead. But we all know how this Leverkusen team always manages to find a way, and this match was no different, with an equaliser coming in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

The draw against Leverkusen was a decent result. Bayer Leverkusen won the Bundesliga last weekend, ending Bayern Munich’s 11-year dominance. This is a very special team, still undefeated in all competitions. They’re through to the semifinals of the Europa League, and they’ve booked a place in the DFB-Pokal final.

In addition, they’ve nearly made it to the month of May, still undefeated on an unprecedented 45-game run. This team could very well win the treble and go unbeaten this season. One saving grace for Dortmund fans, however, is that BVB is the only team Leverkusen have been unable to defeat this season. The reverse league fixture between BVB and Leverkusen also ended in a 1-1 draw.

BVB fans should also take some relief in knowing Borussia Dortmund will almost certainly play in the UEFA Champions League next season. The Bundesliga received a significant boost to the association's UEFA club coefficient last week, meaning five Champions League spots are almost guaranteed for the league. If Borussia Dortmund win the Champions League (and do not finish in the top four), an additional place will also be granted, which would see six Bundesliga teams in the competition next season.