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When Borussia Dortmund beat AC Milan 4-0

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4 April 2002 is the date of one of BVB's greatest victories. Head coach Matthias Sammer's side demolished AC Milan 4-0 in the UEFA Cup semi-final first leg.

14 days after the 4-0 goal fest in the quarter-finals against Slovan Liberec, some 52,000 spectators were packed into the sold-out Westfalenstadion and experienced another great moment in Borussia Dortmund's glorious history in Europe. A first-half Marcio Amoroso hat-trick set the tone, the Brazilian finding the back of the net on 8, 34 and 39 minutes, before Jörg Heinrich added a fourth just after the hour mark. The fans inside the stadium gave the players a standing ovation in the closing stages.

Personnel matters:
The Black and Yellows went into their 137th game in Europe without Lars Ricken, who was missing with a thigh injury, and Sebastian Kehl, who was not eligible to play in European competition and was replaced by Sunday Oliseh. In better news, Jens Lehmann was back between the sticks. 

Tactics:
While Borussia returned to their 2-5-3 system, Milan lined up in their usual 4-4-2, but with Gattuso tucking inside from the right-hand side of midfield to create space for Milan's attacking full-back Contra to move into. Albertini stayed tight to Rosicky, while Reuter and Oliseh were given the task of putting the shackles on Milan's playmaker Pirlo. The Nigerian floated between defence and midfield, plugging any holes as they arose. In the heart of the Dortmund defence, Wörns and Metzelder were matched up against Inzaghi and Jose Mari.

The match:
Milan, who had never won a European match on German soil, looked extremely passive as they started their ninth attempt to take all three points back to Italy. The semi-final first leg was a highly tactical affair, and was clearly dominated by the hosts in the first 45 minutes. Dortmund were aggressive and strong in the tackle, keeping Milan's unpredictable stars under control apart from a few – albeit dangerous – exceptions, and made a statement themselves up front, without taking too much risk at the other end.

BVB fans were out of their seats just five minutes after kick-off, but Ewerthon, who had slammed home a deflected Rosicky shot, was clearly offside. But the fans didn't have to wait long before going wild again. Just four minutes later, Amoroso, who had been fouled in the box by Contra, picked himself up and – after a stuttering run-up – fired the ball into the top left corner. At times, Dortmund were leading their guests a merry dance, for example in the 34th minute, when Dede first beat Gattuso, then sent Albertini the wrong way. Another example came just five minutes later, when Rosicky and Koller left the frighteningly lacklustre Milan defence standing with a clever one-two, before Amoroso left Laursen standing and curled the ball past Abbiati to double the BVB lead.

For Amoroso's third goal in just the 39th minute, Ewerthon played a one-two with Koller before floating a cross towards his compatriot at the far post, who completed his hat-trick in style with an impressive diving header. For the 27-year-old, it was the first hat-trick in Europe and at the same time goals number five, six and seven for Borussia in just his 11th appearance in Europe.

The six-time European Cup winners and three-time World Club Cup winners from Italy showed incredible weaknesses not only in defence, especially down the right-hand side, where they simply never got to grips with Dede and Amoroso. The canny Oliseh, the bustling Reuter and the unpredictable Rosicky also stood out in a BVB side with no weak links. Nevertheless, Milan did manage to conjure up a total of three dangerous chances through pieces of individual brilliance and set piece situations. Lehmann had luck on his side when he was able to get his body in the way of Inzaghi's shot to deflect it on to the post in the 33rd minute. Lady luck was also smiling on Dortmund when Pirlo's long-range free kick was deflected off several players and hit the woodwork just before the break, and when Jose Mari's header went just over after the goalkeeper found himself in no-man's land in the 36th minute.

Nevertheless, the Black and Yellows' deserved 3-0 lead, which simply delighted the fans, prompting a chorus of "We're going to win the U-U-EFA Cup", was rarely in doubt after the sides changed ends. Milan came out more determined after the break, looking for a ray of hope to cling on to for the second leg, but just after the hour mark, they had virtually lost all hope when Ewerthon beat Maldini to Koller's pass and nutmegged Abbiati, leaving Heinrich free for a tap-in to seal an emphatic 4-0 victory.
Boris Rupert