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Smith backs the underdog

24 May 2013

Alan Smith was part of a Leeds United team which took Europe by storm in 2001 by reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Now the MK Dons striker believes the underdog will have its day when Borussia Dortmund take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final tomorrow at Wembley Stadium.

Smith, whose Leeds’ side beat Lazio, Anderlecht, Real Madrid and Deportivo en route to the semi-final, has backed Dortmund to pull off a shock in the first-ever all-German Champions League Final.

Despite the fact that Bayern are current Budesliga champions, Smith is of the opinion that their recent history in the Champions League may prove too much of a mental battle.

Last season Bayern lost the final to Chelsea on penalties and in 2010 they reached the final in Spain, but were beaten 2-0 by Inter Milan.

Smith told “I think there might be a shock – I think Dortmund might beat Bayern Munich. It would be unfair because Bayern should have won the Champions League three or four times over the past decade – they won it in 2001, which was the year I got to the semi-final.

“That was the last success they have had in it, and they have been to the final two times since then. When you have had difficult times in a completion you tend to start believing that the Gods are against you – like we do in the play-offs. You think that something could go wrong but you hope that it doesn’t.”

When both Bayern and Dortmund reached the semi-final stages, playing Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, few would have predicted both German outfits would be pitching up at Wembley this weekend.
Smith added: “I think everyone thought Bayern Munich would have a great chance, I think the Dortmond result, especially in the first-leg, was the one that people were shocked by but they have a great mix of youth and experience in their team.

“They have players who have been there for 15-20 years who have come through the system and they have young lads who have integrated into that system as well, I know our manager has a lot of respect for their philosophy and is keen to implement it here. That philosophy has helped them get to the Champions League Final and they could be European Champions at the end of the season.

“It’s funny that they were so close to going out of the competition, in the 93rd minute against Malaga they were getting knocked out but it shows how great their mentality is.”

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