With their 4-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund appear to have one foot firmly planted in the UEFA Champions League Final.
The Germans victory is a special one for LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski, who was on the books at Dortmund during their last victory in the Champions League. Kirovski became the first American to ever win the Champions League when Dortmund knocked off Italian giants Juventus to win the 1996/1997 UEFA Champions League title. To date, Kirovski remains the only American to ever win the Champions League and subsequently the only American to win the Intercontinental Cup, which was the predecessor of the World Club Championship.
Kirovski admits to pulling for his former club despite being close friends with Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who was Kirovski's teammate in 2006 with the Colorado Rapids. Now more than a decade removed from Dortmund's last Champions League triumph, Kirovski looks back on his distinction as the first American to lift the European Cup.
“Back then, I didn’t even think about it, but now when I do, it’s special. I was part of a team that was full world superstars and to be a part of that was special," Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. "Not many people get an opportunity to do that not only with the Champions League, but the World Club Championship and to be a part of something like that as an American, not many get that opportunity and it’s a great experience.”