BERLIN, March 6 (Reuters) - Borussia Dortmund's sparkling Champions League run this season has seen them advance to the last eight but the underdogs' hunger for European recognition has yet to be stilled.
Their first quarter-final spot in 15 years was sealed on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk, giving them a 5-2 aggregate victory.
It was a return to the big time for a club that almost went bust less than a decade ago but has turned its fortunes around, becoming arguably the most entertaining team to watch in the tournament this season.
"Now that we have made the quarter-finals it is only normal to want to advance another step to the semis," said a beaming coach Juergen Klopp, who took over in 2008 and led them to domestic league titles in 2011 and 2012.
"But obviously that is difficult to do."
Dortmund failed to get out of the group stages last year after years in the football wilderness, but they have been formidable second time around.
The 1997 European champions swept aside Ajax Amsterdam, Real Madrid and Manchester City at home to top their pool in the group stage.
Their displays have been highly impressive but Klopp does not want to hear about his team suddenly being tipped for the trophy.
"We have nothing to do with these estimations of being among the favourites," said Klopp. "A number of teams that played really well have already been eliminated in the competition.
"Those left are all tough opponents and there are no lucky draws left here.
"But we showed we have matured and we have become very consistent in our game."
Dortmund's win on Tuesday was also the best remedy after playing second fiddle to Bayern Munich in Germany this season. They trail Bayern by 17 points in the league and lost to the Bavarians in the German Cup last week.
Klopp's attack-minded players, who outclassed Shakhtar with yet another display of their now trademark positive style, could be forgiven for eyeing the next round and their only chance left for silverware this season.
"I do not think we belong to the group of top favourites but the group is getting smaller and our greed is getting bigger," said Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl.
"All the teams left in the competition will be hard to play against but so will we," he said. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann. Editing by Patrick Johnston)