From fan bus to team bus: Dortmund coach Terzic primed for Real Madrid

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Saturday's clash with Real Madrid will not be coach Edin Terzic's first Champions League final experience with Borussia Dortmund -- but this time around he will be closer to the action.

1 month ago
Jurgen Klopp was in the dugout the last time Dortmund made a Champions League final, which they lost 2-1 to rivals Bayern Munich at Wembley - the same venue as Saturday's showpiece. Born just outside Dortmund, Terzic - the lifelong BVB fan who rose through the ranks to take over as manager - said Tuesday being in the crowd for the 2013 final was part of his "personal story as to why I'm sitting here today".
While veterans Mats Hummels and Marco Reus took the pitch alongside current assistant coaches Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender 11 years ago, Terzic, then an assistant coach for Dortmund's U-17s, made the pilgrimage in an unofficial capacity. "My trip in 2013 was as a fan. Mats Hummels, Marco Reus, Nuri Sahin, Sven Bender, they were on the team bus. I was on the fan bus.
"We all have a personal story and I don't really want to put mine in the foreground. It's just about us going on a journey together."
Terzic's tale is a rarity in international football but has at times counted against him, giving rise to a perception he is in the job on the weight of the romance of his story rather than his skill with the clipboard. Speaking with 'DAZN' on Tuesday, he said "it's not like I was sitting in the stands and someone said 'we'll take him'."
"I wasn't only a fan - I worked here, as a junior coach, a scout, an assistant coach and then a manager if the professional side." The doubters remain despite Terzic's record in charge of Dortmund. As an interim coach, Terzic took Dortmund to the German Cup in 2021 just a few months after taking over.
In his first full season he had Dortmund on course for the Bundesliga title until a last-day 2-2 draw with Mainz saw Bayern win for the 11th straight season. At the end of his second full season, Terzic has Dortmund in the Champions League final - something that only Klopp and Ottmar Hitzfeld have done before.
Speaking with journalists on Tuesday, Terzic said that fateful day against Mainz was "a part of the path to success" which continued on Saturday. "It was not the nicest day, but what I experienced I will not forget. It's part of us, of me."

Bayern's narrow loss in the other semi-final this season, defeated 4-3 over two legs, deprived Dortmund of a chance at revenge. Terzic's men will instead line-up against Real, one of the few teams more decorated than Bayern in Europe. Champions League winners in 1997 when they beat a highly fancied Juventus 3-1 in Munich, Dortmund have overcome the odds as underdogs before.
The statistics however show just how up against it Dortmund will be on Saturday. Real have won the competition 14 times - six of which have come since Dortmund's last appearance. 'Los Blancos' have not lost any of their past eight finals dating back to 1981, when Terzic was not yet born.
The 41-year-old joked it was about time Real lost a final. "Our goal is to win the Champions League. And if you want to win the Champions League, you have to beat the champions. And now, the absolute champion in the history of football and especially in this competition awaits us.
"To use a bit of modern language, they're the final boss. Statistically they're on track to win it again this year - but none of that counts."