Last updated : 15 May 2002 By Grandmaster Suck
Real Madrid Coach Vicente Del Bosque was in confident mood as he looked ahead to the Champions’ League Final at Hampden Park. Dismissing the setbacks of recent games that cost the Spanish giants their domestic League title, Del Bosque (who led Real to the ultimate European success two years ago) stressed: "Both clubs have had parallel results recently.

Both have failed to win their domestic championships." 2002 is of course Real Madrid’s Centenary Year, but the Spanish coach denied that this meant extra pressure on his players: "This is our party year, but at this club celebrations are based on trophies and titles. Anyone working for this club would feel a responsibility to succeed." Del Bosque underlined his confidence in his players’ ability to overcome Bayer Leverkusen: "The attitude of the players is very important. We want to win and win well.

The behaviour of my players at a practical level has been excellent. This is the very pinnacle of world football – the whole world will be watching." Diplomatically, he paid tribute to his German opponents: "Bayer have played excellent matches and have many excellent players." Real star Luis Figo was enthusiastic as he looked ahead to the Hampden clash: "It is every professional’s ambition to play at this level. We have the quality, technique and experience to win"GERMANS DEFIANT Klaus Toppmoller, Coach of Champions’ League underdogs Bayer Leverkusen was in defiant mood as he looked ahead to the Hampden Final: "We have had a very good campaign so far.

We may be the dark horses, but we are representing German football. We will play with enthusiasm and Germanic qualities." Toppmoller does not have his problems to seek, with both Jens Nowotny and Ze Roberto absent, together with the loss of both League and Cup in recent weeks: "We have lost two trophies, as have Real Madrid. We played well against Schalke (German Cup Final) and have played well this season against Barcelona and Deportivo La Coruna. "This is the most important game in the club’s history. My players will show what they are capable of. I know what Real are capable of; I know their strengths and weaknesses. Our team spirit will give us the victory."

Reflecting on the historic 1960 Final, Toppmoller laughed: Di Stefano and Puskas were wonderful players, but they are not playing now." Perhaps just as well for Bayer Leverkusen’s sake.