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Ten years ago tomorrow Feyenoord won the UEFA Cup for the second time, defeating Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in a final memorable for two Pierre van Hooijdonk goals – one a penalty, the other a trademark free-kick – and a first-half red card for Jürgen Kohler.
As Sporting Clube de Portugal enjoyed three years later in the same competition and FC Bayern München can look forward to for the forthcoming UEFA Champions League final, Feyenoord had the luxury of home advantage for the showpiece occasion.
For the club's former full-back, Tomasz Rząsa, playing before his own supporters in such an important game was a memorable experience. "Every week we played at De Kuip," he told UEFA.com. "It was always full, with 45,000 fans in the stadium, and there would have been more had it not been for security reasons.
"We always had a full house, so were excited. During that match half the stadium, or one-third, belonged to Feyenoord fans; the rest to other fans. The most noise came from the Feyenoord supporters. It's accepted that you play differently for your own fans."
Bert van Marwijk's side went into the final having finished a disappointing third place in the Eredivisie while Dortmund, by contrast, were imbued with confidence after pipping Bayer 04 Leverkusen to the Bundesliga title by a point. Rząsa believes this played into Feyenoord's hands.
"We knew that three days earlier Borussia Dortmund had become German champions," said the former Polish international. "That was a good omen for us because we know what it's like to play immediately after experiencing success.
"They said they didn't uncork the champagne after becoming Bundesliga champions – they were waiting for the UEFA Cup final. But we know that things don't always work that way. The slackness of Dortmund was such that they, for a German team, came to the final not fully focused. That was evident from the start ..."
To hear the full interview with Tomasz Rząsa watch the video above.
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