Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes his former club Borussia Dortmund can win this year's Champions League despite competition from European heavyweights Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
While Lambert is navigating a Premier League relegation battle with Villa, his former team are through to the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition, and he believes they could go all the way.
Lambert only spent one season at Dortmund, winning the Champions League after a 3-1 victory over Juventus in the 1997 final, but he moved back to Germany to earn his coaching badges after his career concluded.
The former Scotland international told Yahoo! in a press release sent to GiveMeFootball: "[BVB boss] Jurgen Klopp was on the same coaching course as me and you can see what a transformation he has made at Dortmund.
"In fact, if you think of one team who might be a good outside bet for the Champions League then that would be Dortmund because of the way that they’re playing and the young, enthusiastic lads that they have in their squad. Plus their fan base is huge.
"Jurgen has done a phenomenal job at Dortmund, he has been a revelation for the team and for the crowd who have bought into the way he manages. After winning the Bundesliga back-to-back the previous two seasons, it seems at the moment that Dortmund’s priority is the Champions League."
Lambert also believes the rivalry between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will intensify when former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola takes over at the Allianz Arena at the beginning of next season.
"Bayern Munich are running away with the league and everyone saw how strong they were against Arsenal," he said. "When Pep Guardiola joins them in the summer that will really enhance them further and Dortmund will have to match that."
The former Norwich manager praised German football as a whole, claiming it was more professional and passionate than in Britain.
He said: "Low ticket prices can help you to maintain the large fan bases, it is big business and I saw that even when I was over there. The games always sell out and you can be in a stadium 90 minutes before kick off and they’ll be jam packed, but in Britain fans typically flood in with about 15 minutes to go.
"German TV coverage is excellent too; they don’t approach football as a hobby but as a profession."
And Lambert admitted he could see himself managing abroad in the future, taking a path travelled with various degrees of success and failure in the past by others.
"You can never say never because you just don’t know what is going to happen," he concluded. "It’s like being a professional footballer when people ask you the same question really. I loved my time abroad and I think it’s great for your education to experience a different environment. If you get the opportunity it’s a great thing to do."
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