Borussia Dortmund manager Juergen Klopp insists his team will continue to develop regardless of whether they win the UEFA Champions League.
The deposed Bundesliga champions face Bayern Munich at Wembley on Saturday after defeating Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
Klopp’s men go into the game as underdogs after Bayern raced to the league title, taking the crown that Dortmund had held for two seasons, but the 45-year-old stressed his side will continue to grow even if they taste defeat.
“We do intend to carry on advancing,” he said.
“Whether German football has improved compared to others, I don’t know. It’s not that German football is completely dominant – maybe we’ve caught up a bit. We will try again and again to get into the final, but whether we will manage it I don’t know.”
Dortmund have earned many plaudits for their displays in Europe’s top club competition this season and, while Klopp believes they will be able to bounce back and replicate those performances next term, he understands that the gradual growth of his side makes their presence at the final more meaningful.
He added: “People have climbed Mount Everest before and had to turn around 10 meters from the top, but at least they’ve tried. And we’ve tried too.
“This team’s been growing over the last five years, and we think this could only have been done in this club. Maybe that’s why things are a bit more emotional for us.”
Both Dortmund and Bayern will be familiar with each other’s strengths going into the game, and midfielder Sebastian Kehl thinks it will be the team that shows greater ambition who will triumph.
He said: “The match will be decided by little things. Both teams know how to play against each other, what tactics to apply – there won’t be any surprises. The ones who win will be the ones who go for it and experience it as an opportunity and not as a pressure situation.”