As he returns to Bayer 04 Leverkusen with Tottenham Hotspur FC, striker Dimitar Berbatov has his sights on a second Glasgow final appearance.
The new Bulgaria captain was one of the young stars of the Leverkusen side that reached the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League final, losing out to Real Madrid CF at Hampden Park. He will hope to exorcise those memories this season as the 2006/07 UEFA Cup final will be held at the same venue. "We all believe we can go far in the UEFA Cup," he told uefa.com. "The competition is one of our priorities. Spurs have great traditions in Europe [they won the 1962/63 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Cups in 1971/72 and 1983/84] and after a lengthy absence we will try our best to make the supporters proud in Europe again."
Having joined Tottenham from Leverkusen for €16m this summer, the striker has had reason to reflect on the differences between his new club and the one where he spent five years developing into a world-class striker. "It is not easy adapting to the English Premiership," he admitted. "There are differences in the style between Germany and England and I know I have to work very hard."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Berbatov has looked far better in Europe than he has in the Premiership, scoring three goals and setting up two more in the UEFA Cup group stage so far, although he said: "It does not matter who scores the goals, the most important thing is the team winning."
One of his former Leverkusen coaches, Klaus Augenthaler, ended up playing a major part in his move to London. A former team-mate of Tottenham manager Martin Jol from his time at FC Bayern München, Augenthaler helped sell the club to Berbatov. "Before my transfer, Augenthaler phoned me and he said Martin Jol was wonderful coach and person," he said.
Berbatov joined Leverkusen from PFC CSKA Sofia in January 2001 at the age of 20 and has no regrets about his time at the club. "I will always be grateful to Leverkusen for what they did for me," he said. "I spent five wonderful years there and the club helped me a lot and developed me as player and the fans were also brilliant. It will be interesting to go back."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.