Dumfries speaks of ‘experience’ towards Champions League final: ‘Believe me’

Dumfries speaks of ‘experience’ towards Champions League final: ‘Believe me’

NOS Football

Dumfries: ‘The derby against AC Milan -and certainly in the Champions League- is a different experience’

When Internazionale were last in the final of the Champions League, Denzel Dumfries was still playing at Rotterdam’s Spartaan ’20. In the C2. A career as a professional soccer player was miles away, playing in the final match of the highest European soccer tournament even more so.

But he really stands there tonight, thirteen years later. Flying down the right flank of present-day Inter, a team that, like Dumfries, excels above all in willpower and discipline. Against the dreaded soccer machine Manchester City.

‘Pool of death’

That Inter would get this far, like Dumfries’ rise to the soccer hall of fame, was not necessarily in line with expectations. Certainly not after the group stage draw, which condemned Italy’s current number three to what Dumfries calls the “poule of death,” with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Viktoria Pilsen.

But Inter finished second behind Bayern, which meant that not Barcelona (as the “experts” predicted), but the “Nerazzurri” went through.

After that, three more knockout rounds had to be survived. Although it must be said that Inter could have been worse off in those. Inter faced FC Porto, Benfica and AC Milan after the winter, while City had to deal with title holder Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig.

But Dumfries wants to know nothing of an “easy schedule. “Of course you were on the right side in terms of names, but if you look critically. Porto played with so much intensity. Not normal. Benfica is characterized by the high level this year.”

“And the Milan derby in the semifinals of the Champions League…,” the Oranje international continued. “Then you speak of a completely different experience. There are very different emotions involved. Believe me”,

‘Tricky playing against us’

And yet Manchester City, the champions of England, are the favorites tonight. The ever-positive Dumfries agrees, but believes in himself and his team at all times. “We have shown this season that it is difficult to play against us,” he said.

Dumfries certainly does not think it is a miracle that Inter made it to the final this year. “In 2010 you already saw that Inter is capable of winning the Champions League,” he said. Back then, Wesley Sneijder played in Milan with José Mourinho as coach.

Dumfries vs. Aké

At opposing City, compatriot Nathan Aké plays. The difference between Dumfries and Aké is perhaps exemplary of the contrast between the two teams.

Whereas tonight Inter has to rely mainly on hard work, City is the team of pure footballers. Dumfries, for example, played at an amateur club in 2010 (not even in the first C team yet), while Aké was already known as a great talent back then.

Left back Aké played in youth at Feyenoord and then left for Chelsea for about 800,000 euros. He and Dumfries know each other well, as they play together at Oranje. They have never faced each other.

Nathan Aké after winning the English championship

Aké is now first choice at City, where two years ago he did not get a minute in the final game against Chelsea (0-1). And Dumfries, who moved to Italy from PSV in 2021, is also a regular face in his team’s starting lineup.

After 2010, things went fast for the right wing defender. He returned to his ‘old love’ Smitshoek in 2011 to end up at Sparta Rotterdam, sc Heerenveen, PSV and thus Inter via BVV Barendrecht.

Despite the surplus of quality at City, Dumfries is confident: “We are looking forward to it.” And why not? Dumfries’ career so far has been an extremely successful battle against expectations.

Kayleigh Williams

One thought on “Dumfries speaks of ‘experience’ towards Champions League final: ‘Believe me’

Comments are closed.