The match was prefaced by tragedy. Five Shakhtar Donetsk fans died en route as their plane crashed after it overshot the runway. A minute silence was observed at the Donbass Arena before the match. Given the circumstances, this was an extra-ordinary performance by the home side.
Onto the pitch. Remember Robert Lewandowski? He was supposed to have been on his way to Man Utd after the 2012 Euro. It was all a done deal. Not really because he re-signed with Borussia Dortmund and continued on in the crucible of German talent with the likes of Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, Mats Hummels, Sven Bender. He scored Dortmund's equalizer after Darijo Srna's sweetly struck free kick put the Ukrainian side on top.
That leveler was a bit of a production as Lewandowski embarrassingly whiffed on his first attempt off Gotze's cross. But like a Tony Jaa movie, two Donetsk defenders lay miraculously felled and on that let off, the Polish striker made no mistake with his second attempt.
Shakhtar made further inroads with Douglas Costa's spectacular goal, one of the many Brazilian imports which makes people wonder why it doesn't apply for membership to the Brazilian Campeonato. In keeping, Costa was also strongly linked with a move to Utd targeted by Sir Alex as someone stepping into Ryan Giggs shoes. But Utd's overtures have been rebuffed a number of times, first by Gremio and more recently by Shakhtar.
Dortmund managed to restore parity late in the day with Mats Hummels powering his header in from Marcel Schmelzer's corner. Dortmund was the more assured team overall and from their performance should be the favourites to progress when they play the second leg at the Signal Iduna Park.