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Edin Terzic demands Dortmund embrace underdog tag in Champions League final

Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic is comfortable with their underdog status (Nick Potts/PA)
Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic is comfortable with their underdog status (Nick Potts/PA)

Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic wants his players to embrace their underdog tag and insists past disappointments only fuel the will to win the Champions League.

Opponents Real Madrid are looking for a 15th triumph in the competition while Dortmund, winners in 1997, have lifted just two German Cups and the German Supercup since their last appearance in the final 11 years ago.

The club have gained an unwanted reputation for near misses, registering an 11th record runners-up finish in the Bundesliga last year having gone into the final day knowing a win would have guaranteed the title.

They return to Wembley with two survivors – Marco Reus in his final match for the club and Mats Hummels – from the team which lost in the 2013 final to Bayern Munich thanks to a goal in the 89th minute.

Terzic said they had used those players’ experiences, plus those of his backroom staff Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender who were also involved in that game, and their most Bundesliga heartbreak as part of their preparations.

“We are always exchanging experiences and we are using these experiences from our players,” said the Dortmund boss.

“We had many chats in the last weeks and days and it is important they know how special this game is.

“Maybe if you are a young player, as was the case in 2013, you think, ‘it is my first final and there are more to come’ but it is not easy to get into a final.

“The last (league) game last season is now part of our life and now part of our path to success.

“If I am honest I don’t think this was the most beautiful chapter in my life but I think it was the most important chapter as it shows you it doesn’t matter how tough it is, stand up and go again.

“Last year we found out how tough it can be but that doesn’t matter any more as we are here in the Champions League final and this is the beautiful part of our sport.”

After a defeat by Paris St Germain and a draw with AC Milan in their opening two Champions League group matches the final seemed a long way off, but in the knockout phase they accounted for Atletico Madrid and then gained their revenge on PSG in the semi-final with a 2-0 aggregate victory.

It is why Terzic had confidence they can pull off an upset.

“Ten years ago I never thought about being in Wembley for the final but four months ago, when we qualified for the knockout stage, for sure,” he added.

“Everything in life starts with belief. We lost important players in the summer and it was going to take some time.

“We didn’t manage to be on our top level in September but now we are a totally different team. We are ready to compete and fight to win the trophy.

“If you play 10 games against Real Madrid it is difficult but if you go to a final everything is possible in football. It is about the game not the occasion.

“We’ve had 60 games to prepare ourselves for the game tomorrow. It is clear they have the role as a favourite but we don’t care, we weren’t favourites against Atletico or PSG.

“If we are brave and ready to show we are not here to see how Real Madrid are going to lift the trophy and we are here to give them a game then we are going to have a chance.”

The 41-year-old Terzic also spoke of his respect for opposite number Carlo Ancelotti, who is looking to win his seventh Champions League as player and manager.

“He is one of the managers who not only made it with one team but made it with different teams in different countries and in two decades he has been successful as a manager,” he said.

“The way he manages the team and the way the player play for him he needs to be a role model for young coaches. I still think I am a young coach so he’s a role model for me.”