Eleven years after competing in a Champions League final at Wembley, Borussia Dortmund are back for another go. But ahead of the clash with Real Madrid, just how does Edin Terzić’s team stack up against Jürgen Klopp’s runners-up from 2012-13?

They may not have come close to winning the Bundesliga, but Borussia Dortmund have a UEFA Champions League final at Wembley Stadium to look forward to.

No, it’s not 2013 and you can turn off Get Lucky by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams right now.

Dortmund are set to appear in just their third Champions League final ever, having won the tournament in 1996-97 when they defeated Juventus 3-1 in Munich and lost in 2012-13 to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich at Wembley.

Back then, Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund had toppled Bayern in the Bundesliga race in 2010-11 and 2011-12, before Jupp Heynckes wrestled back the league title in 2012-13. Dortmund and Bayern met in a tight contest in London, with Arjen Robben’s late winner sealing a 2-1 victory for Die Rekordmeister.

Robben UCL final 2012-13 winning goal

Now, 11 years on, Edin Terzić has guided Dortmund back to a Champions League final, and by sheer coincidence, back to Wembley.

This time their opponents are Real Madrid, arguably even more imposing than Bayern were back then as the club with twice as many European Cup/Champions League successes as any other (14).

Ahead of the first Champions League final between a German and Spanish team since 2002, we wanted to ask how this Dortmund side compares to the last one to grace Wembley.

Back in 2012-13, BVB finished second in the Bundesliga behind a resurgent Bayern. They were also knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by Bayern at the quarter-final stage, before going on to lose to them in the Champions League final. It’s safe to say Klopp and Dortmund were sick of the sight of their red rivals by the end of the campaign.

This season, Terzić’s Dortmund were eliminated from the DFB-Pokal in the round of 16 by Stuttgart and finished fifth in the Bundesliga. That makes them the second-lowest ranked German side to compete in a European Cup/Champions League final since Bayern Munich in 1974-75 (10th). It’s the lowest a team has finished domestically while also reaching the Champions League final since Chelsea won it in 2011-12 (finishing 6th in the Premier League).

Both iterations of Dortmund saw plenty of drama on the way to their respective finals. In 2012-13 they topped an apparent ‘group of death’ ahead of Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City, before easing past Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 16 despite drawing the first leg away.

They were minutes away from elimination in the quarter-finals at the hands of Malaga, 2-1 down in the second leg at home and needing to score twice to go through. Stoppage-time goals from Marco Reus and Felipe Santana saw them do just that.

The semi-final against Real Madrid was quite an occasion, with four goals from Robert Lewandowski in the first leg at home sealing a 4-1 victory. They were made to sweat in the Santiago Bernabeu in the return leg but held on to win 4-3 on aggregate.

Dortmund also finished first in a tough group this season, despite making it hard for themselves after only picking up one point from their opening two games against Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. Two impressive wins over Newcastle United got them back on track, with a win in Milan and a home draw against PSG sealing top spot.

Continuing to mirror their run from 11 years prior, they drew the first leg away to PSV before sealing passage in the home leg. They then fell behind at home in the second leg to Spanish opposition in Atlético Madrid before two late goals turned things on their head, albeit not quite as late as against Malaga.

Their semi-final saw them again come up against a European giant who they had already faced in the group stage. Their 1-0 wins in both legs against PSG were both down to some staunch defending and hard work to keep Kylian Mbappé and co at bay, but also a fair bit of fortune.

In fact, you could argue Dortmund have enjoyed more than their fair share of luck.

Their opponents have hit the woodwork 12 times in the Champions League this season, including six times in the semi-final by PSG; the most a team has ever seen their woodwork hit within a single campaign on record (since 2003-04).

While former Dortmund and now former Liverpool boss Klopp will apparently be in attendance as a guest of the Bundesliga outfit, there are two more significant figures present who were also there in 2013; Mats Hummels and Marco Reus.

Dortmund team v Bayern UCL final 2013
Dortmund team v PSG UCL semi-final 2024

An appearance by either would make it the biggest gap between European Cup/Champions League final appearances (11 years) since Gianluigi Buffon for Juventus (12 years, 2003 – 2015), and the second-largest by an outfield player after Lothar Matthäus for Bayern (12 years, 1987 – 1999).

It will be Reus’ final game as a Dortmund player after 12 years with the club, while there is speculation this could also be Hummels’ final campaign at Signal Iduna Park.

The centre-back has not missed a single minute of Champions League football this season. The last outfield player to play every minute of a campaign for the eventual winner of the competition was Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017-18 with Real Madrid, while the last central defender to do so was Sami Hyypiä in 2004-05 with Liverpool.

While Dortmund finished three places higher in 2012-13 compared to this season, it should be noted that they only accrued three more points (66 to 63). With Bayer Leverkusen producing a stunning unbeaten title-winning season and Stuttgart also significantly improving, the competition at the top of the Bundesliga seemed higher than 11 years ago.

Defensively, the numbers comparison is interesting. They conceded just one fewer goal in the Bundesliga in 2012-13, but did so after facing 145 fewer shots. In 2012-13, 42 goals went in against Dortmund in the Bundesliga from 332 attempts, but this season they allowed 43 goals from 477 shots, meaning they faced an extra 4.3 shots per game on average. They therefore conceded on average from every 11.1 shots in 2023-24, compared to every 7.9 shots in 2012-13.

That points to the influence of someone who may also be a key factor in Saturday’s final: goalkeeper Gregor Kobel. The Swiss stopper has prevented 14 goals more (excluding own goals) than he should have in all competitions this season according to Opta’s expected goals on target model (xGOT).

No goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues prevented more in 2023-24, with PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma the next best on 12.6 goals prevented. Kobel has prevented 7.1 goals in the Champions League alone, almost twice as many as any other goalkeeper in the competition.

Gregor Kobel xGOT 23-24

At the other end, 2012-13 Dortmund did score 15 more goals than their 2023-24 counterparts in the league, and 26 more in all competitions, albeit from three more games. It certainly helped that they had 36-goal Lewandowski in their ranks, though. Mario Götze and Reus also popped up with 30 goal involvements each.

In fact, Jakub Blaszczykowski had 26 goal involvements in all competitions in 2012-13 (14 goals, 12 assists), the fourth most for Dortmund that season. That is the same number as top scorer Niclas Füllkrug has recorded this season (15 goals, 11 assists) with one game remaining, the most of any BVB player in 2023-24.

Dortmund G+A 12-13 vs 23-24

Dortmund have spread the goals out well this year, though. In fact, no team has had more different goalscorers (excl. own goals) than Dortmund’s 12 in this season’s Champions League (level with Man City), having had four more scorers than Real Madrid (8).

Füllkrug has been their main man, if they even have one. All three of the Germany international’s Champions League goals this season have been winners, finding crucial strikes against Newcastle in November, Atlético Madrid in April and PSG last month.

Getting Jadon Sancho back on loan from Manchester United has also been a key factor. He’s completed 25 dribbles across his six Champions League appearances for Dortmund this season; the most by a player in the knockout stages in a single edition since Neymar for PSG in 2019-20 (32).

Jadon Sancho successful dribbles UCL 23-24

As they were in 2012-13, Dortmund will be the underdogs at Wembley. The Opta Supercomputer gives them a 32.1% chance of beating Madrid. It perhaps doesn’t bode well for them that Los Blancos haven’t lost a European Cup/Champions League final since they were beaten 1-0 by Liverpool in 1981, having won each of their eight finals since.

Terzić was also there in 2013, sat in among the Dortmund fans. He recently told DAZN that agonising day was part of his “personal story as to why I’m sitting here today”.

With him in the dugout and Klopp in the stands under the famous Wembley arch this time, if Terzić is able to take BVB one step further and to a second Champions League trophy, he will surely earn a special place in the fans’ hearts next to ‘Kloppo’.

Enjoy this? Subscribe to our football newsletter to receive exclusive weekly content. You should also follow our social accounts over on XInstagramTikTok and Facebook.