Schmeichel tips Dortmund for Champions League glory

Schmeichel's Champions League prediction
Schmeichel's Champions League prediction

    JUST WATCHED

    Schmeichel's Champions League prediction

MUST WATCH

Schmeichel's Champions League prediction 03:05

Story highlights

  • Peter Schmeichel forecasts Borussia Dortmund to win the European Champions League
  • Schmeichel won the Champions League with Manchester United in 1999
  • The Dane says Barcelona can be stopped, as Chelsea proved last season
  • Schmeichel suggest Jose Mourinho can guide Real Madrid into the latter stages

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel is backing Borussia Dortmund to cause a shock and win the European Champions League.

Schmeichel captained United to European club football's biggest prize in 1999 and believes Jurgen Klopp's German champions have the ability clinch Europe's premier competition.

"I'm looking at Dortmund this time," the Dane, who skippered United as they secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Bayern Munich 13 years ago, told CNN, ahead of Thursday's last -16 draw.

"They've surprised everyone; they've put everything they have into the Champions League.

"They're behind in the league, as champions, which is not great, but they play exciting football. I think they have one of the managers for the future; the big clubs will certainly try and get him."

Read: Messi commits his future to Barcelona

Klopp has led Dortmund to back-to-back German titles and guided the 1997 Champions League winners to the top of a group which contained Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax after failing to reach the knockout stages last season.

"I think we'll get a surprise this year and I'm leaning a little bit towards Dortmund," continued Schmeichel. "They play such a great game which fits the Champions League. Maybe we will have a surprise winner."

In addition to Dortmund, Schmeichel also talked up the chances of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The Catalan side have won all but one of their Spanish League matches and, in Lionel Messi, possess a player who has scored a record 90 goals in 2012.

Blog: Is Barca's Vilanova coach of the year?

However, Schmeichel suggested Barca's opponents could take heart from Chelsea's defeat of the four-time European champions at the semifinal stage last season.

"We know how to stop Barcelona now because we saw what Chelsea did," said the former Danish international keeper.

"It requires a little bit of luck and Chelsea had that, but I don't think you can beat Barcelona over two games without having played well.

"You could see the confusion of the Barca players -- they didn't have a plan B and I think you need to have that.

"You need to have more than one style of playing in the Champions League and I think that's why it is interesting to follow Barcelona -- how are they going to react now? But Barcelona will always be the team to beat."

By way of comparision, Schmeichel feels that Real Madrid have a coach in Jose Mourinho who can adapt a team to any situation.

Real have endured a torrid start to the La Liga season and sit 13 points off table-toppers Barca, but Schmeichel suggests Mourinho could be the man to lead Real to a much-coveted 10th European crown.

"We've seen this with Mourinho when he was at Chelsea and Inter Milan," added Schmeichel.

"They are very, very hot and then they are cold. But when it comes to the Champions League and Mourinho, it is a guarantee they will be there or thereabouts because he's a master in that tournament.

"With Mourinho there is a plan B, a plan C, you can carry on. He can set his team up in so many different ways."

If United is the club which remains closest to Schmeichel's heart, the Dane argues manager Sir Alex Ferguson needs to find a quick solution to a defense which has shipped 30 goals in 23 league and Champions League matches.

"We have been defending terribly this year and even Alex is out there now publicly stating we have to improve," admitted Schmeichel. "Every game we have to score three goals to win the game, you're under too much pressure.

"Three goals is a lot to score in the Champions League, I'm not saying its impossible but at this stage of the competition, it is really tough. You have to stop conceding."

Schmeichel hopes the recent return of defender Nemanja Vidic, who has suffered an injury-ravaged 12 months, will help shore up United's shaky backline.

"He's basically been out for a year. He came back against Sunderland, it was great to see him there and we're all hoping he is going to be the player he was. We need him for his leadership, but we need him for his defending as well."

        Football Focus

      • French football great bids adieu

        After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
      • Mario's 'Queen' tweet tops 2014 list

        He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
      • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

        Loss of a South African 'icon'

        Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
      • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

        From Jewish football to ISIS suspect

        Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
      • Where has 'Super' Mario gone?

        One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
      • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

        Should rapist return to work?

        Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
      • Teen, 15, makes Euro history

        Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.