The ex-Premier League stars who helped Borussia Dortmund reach Champions League final

  • Dortmund reached first Champions League final since 2013 with 2-0 aggregate win over PSG
  • Jadon Sancho currently starring for BVB after leaving Man Utd on loan
  • Ian Maatsen also thriving in Germany following indifferent spell with Chelsea
Dortmund beat the odds to reach the Champions League final
Dortmund beat the odds to reach the Champions League final / Jürgen Fromme - firo sportphoto/GettyImages

Few football fans would have predicted Borussia Dortmund to reach the Champions League final at the start of the season, but here we are.

BVB have largely struggled to make much of an impact in the Bundesliga, where they currently sit in fifth, and lost talismanic midfielder Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid after heartbreakingly missing out on the title on goal difference last term.

But while their league performance has been largely underwhelming, Dortmund have been strong in Europe. Edin Terzic's side lost only group-stage game despite being paired with Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle United and, after progressing past PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in the knockout stages, were too resolute for PSG to break down in the semi-finals.

They qualified for the final at Wembley Stadium with the help of a few names known from their stints in the Premier League.

1. Ian Maatsen

Ian Maatsen
Maatsen left Chelsea on loan / Boris Streubel/GettyImages

Since joining the club in 2019 as an exciting young prospect, Ian Maatsen hasn't had a fair shake of it at Chelsea.

The Dutchman, who made his first-team debut for the Blues in 2019, spent time on loan with Charlton Athletic, Coventry City and Burnley during his formative years and even turned down a permanent move to the Clarets after helping them win promotion to the Premier League.

He was played out of position by current boss Mauricio Pochettino, featuring in attacking midfield and on the wing, but has made Dortmund's left-back spot his own since signing on loan in January.

BVB officials have spoken of their optimism over a permanent deal for the 22-year-old and Chelsea may be tempted into selling him to recoup some cash after years of reckless spending.

2. Marcel Sabitzer

Marcel Sabitzer
Sabitzer spent a brief time at Man Utd / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Marcel Sabitzer's loan to Manchester United last season was as 'blink and you'll miss it' as transfers get in the modern game.

The Austria international made the odd contribution here and there - including a brace in the ultimately fatal Europa League tie with Sevilla - but his campaign ended prematurely due to a meniscus injury.

He got lost among the myriad of stars at Bayern Munich but his talent out of possession was there to be seen in Dortmund's second 1-0 win over PSG in the semi-finals.

Sabitzer will need to be at his industrious best when the Champions League final rolls around at the start of June.

3. Emre Can

Emre Can
Can played in the 2018 Champions League final / Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

Much was expected of Emre Can when he joined Liverpool in 2014 for a smidge under £10m. He was along for the ride as the Reds reached the Champions League final in 2018 but decided it was time for a new challenge when Juventus came calling.

While he won Serie A following that free transfer, the Germany international was soon deemed surplus to requirements and loaned to Dortmund in January 2020 with the obligation to make the deal permanent.

Can has since helped BVB win the DFB-Pokal and succeeded Marco Reus as first-team captain, nailing down a place in central midfield.

4. Sebastien Haller

Haller was an unused substitute on Tuesday night / MIGUEL MEDINA/GettyImages

Plenty of big-money strikers have tried and failed to make the grade at West Ham United. Sebastien Haller is one of them, netting ten Premier League goals in 48 appearances before enjoying a goal-laden two-season spell with Ajax.

Dortmund picked him up in the summer of 2022, marking his second spell in the Bundesliga after spending time with Eintracht Frankfurt, but Haller was diagnosed with testicular cancer and didn't play again until January 2023.

He was an unused substitute in Dortmund's success in Paris and has only played 51 minutes in total across three Champions League appearances this season, scoring away at Atletico Madrid.

5. Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho
Sancho is enjoying himself at Dortmund once again / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Did you know that Jadon Sancho completed roughly a billion dribbles in Dortmund's first-leg victory over PSG in the semi-finals?

It's been a remarkable turnaround for the England international, who left Man Utd acrimoniously after falling out with Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag. His stats since returning to Signal Iduna Park aren't mind-blowing, with three goals and one assist in 18 matches, but it's certainly been more productive than being frozen out at Old Trafford.

There's every chance he'll be back at United in the summer, especially if Ten Hag is given the boot after an awful season, but first Sancho will be hoping to lead his loan side to one of the all-time great Champions League triumphs.