Borussia Dortmund break Champions League group stage goals record

Marco Reus celebrates a goalBorussia Dortmund entered Wednesday’s Champions League match against Real Madrid only needing a draw to win Group F, but they left with slightly more than top position. Dortmund rallied for a 2-2 draw on a late goal by Marco Reus, which improved their group stage total to 21—the highest total in Champions League group stage history.

Madrid, which needed to defeat Dortmund to win Group F, built a 2-0 lead after 53 minutes on a brace from Karim Benzema, backing the visiting German squad into a corner. Dortmund responded with a beautiful passing sequence in the 60th minute when Julian Weigl chipped the ball into the box for Marcel Schmelzer, who found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a one-touch volley for the tap-in finish—Aubameyang’s 19th in his last 19 appearances.

Reus entered the match shortly after Aubameyang’s goal, and his fresher legs made the difference when he outran two Madrid defenders to slide home the equalizer in the 88th minute—10 minutes after Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post on an opportunity to restore Madrid’s two-goal advantage.

Dortmund’s record of 21 goals bests the previous mark of 20 shared by Madrid, Manchester United, and Barcelona. It’s an impressive feat, but a closer look reveals two thirds of their goals were scored against one opponent: Legia Warsaw. Dortmund filled Legia’s net in both of their group stage meetings, destroying them 6-0 in Warsaw and 8-4 at home.

This doesn’t diminish Dortmund’s achievement, but it does raise the question of whether they are truly the greatest attacking team in Champions League group play, or if they just really enjoy scoring on Legia. Regardless, Dortmund enters Monday’s round of 16 draw as a team to be feared after proving they are never out of a match.

Legia finished with the most goals allowed of any group stage team in 2016, and tied Dinamo Zagreb with a stage-worst minus-15 goal differential, yet they somehow avoided finishing last in Group F with a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday. The win put Legia a point ahead of Sporting and secured the Polish squad a Europa League spot, which they can take as a consolation prize for playing an important role in Dortmund’s new record.