Terzic: Dortmund ready to upset Madrid in final

Borussia Dortmund have not travelled so far in this season’s Champions League to be mere witnesses to Real Madrid lifting the trophy for a record-extending 15th time, coach Edin Terzic vowed on Friday on the eve of the Wembley showdown.

Dortmund finished a distant fifth in the Bundesliga this season and few would have given them much hope of reaching their first Champions League final since 2013 when Wembley also hosted their defeat against favourites Bayern Munich.

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But Terzic’s side stunned Atletico Madrid in a quarterfinal thriller and then provided a tactical masterclass as they beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in both legs of the semifinal.

“We are ready to compete at the highest level,” Terzic said. “Maybe if you play 10 times against Real Madrid, it is very difficult. If you play 34 times, it’s impossible. But if you break it down to one game, a final, everything is possible.

“It is clear they have a role as favourites. We don’t care. We weren’t favourites against Atletico or Paris either.

Terzic, who will be up against his role model Carlo Ancelotti, was speaking to reporters before leading a training session on the pristine turf in north west London.

“You don’t play a final, you win a final and that is our clear goal,” he added.

“We’re happy to be here but we have to win at Wembley Stadium against Real Madrid, to hold that trophy in our hands.”

Madrid are another step up in class but for Terzic’s side but he says their defensive solidity gives them the chance of winning the trophy for the second time in their history.

“We are the team with the most clean sheets in the competition [this season],” said Terzic, whose side top the season’s statistics in tackles, clearances and ball recovery.

“You need to keep the opposition as far away from goal as possible. We weren’t at our highest level when we conceded goals in September, but we are a totally different team now and have shown we are ready to compete for the trophy.”

One of the many threats to Dortmund’s hopes will be a very familiar one in the form of Jude Bellingham who left the club for Real Madrid last year and has taken Spain by storm.

“Few players have had contact with Jude. Everyone is in the zone and concentrating on their task,” Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt, sitting alongside centre back Nico Schlotterbeck, told reporters when asked if Bellingham had been in touch.

Saturday’s clash, Dortmund’s 300th European game, will be the final match in the yellow shirt for midfielder Marco Reus, while Madrid’s Germany midfielder Toni Kroos is also preparing for his last club game before retirement after Euro 2024.

“I was able to play with both of them. Toni is an absolute icon and a sensational guy who has won everything,” Brandt said.

“Marco is also one of the reasons why I play for BVB (Dortmund). He was an idol for me as a child and teenager. It’s still a lot of fun to train and play with him.”

It is bound to be an emotional night but for Schlotterbeck the focus is crystal clear.

“We kept a clean sheet against Paris twice. That’s not normal. We now also know that we can beat any opponent in the world,” he said.” If we all believe that tomorrow, we also have a good chance of winning.”

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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