THE EURO FILES: The Year of the Underdog! Joselu and Edin Terzic are proof you can always earn another chance... PLUS, why Jadon Sancho makes my Champions League XI

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Football always gives you another chance. If you are Bayer Leverkusen it will probably come in stoppage time.

On their record-breaking 49-game unbeaten run Xabi Alonso’s team have scored 17 goals in stoppage time, 11 of them decisive in avoiding defeat.

But for others, more patience is needed. Olympiacos coach Jose Luis Mendilibar and Borussia Dortmund manager Edin Terzic had to wait seven and 12 months respectively for their next big opportunity. And Real Madrid striker Joselu waited 13 years.

It was May 2011 when the now 34-year-old had his first big night at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho brought him on as a substitute for Karim Benzema and, from a Cristiano Ronaldo assist in the 87th minute, he scored the last goal in an 8-1 win over Almeria.

Joselu had scored 14 goals for the B-team that season and scored 19 the following year. But he was sold for £4.7million to Hoffenheim and there began an odyssey that would take him to Frankfurt, Hannover, Stoke, Newcastle, Alaves and Espanyol before Madrid said last summer they wanted him back.

Joselu has enjoyed a remarkable career turnaround since returning to Real Madrid this season

The striker endured two unsuccessful spells in the Premier League before hitting his stride in his mid 30s

The striker endured two unsuccessful spells in the Premier League before hitting his stride in his mid 30s 

‘No one else has my profile in the squad,’ he told Mail Sport in an interview last month, when asked about everyone expecting him not to stay at the club beyond the end of his loan deal this summer because of the expected arrival of Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain.

This week, as Mbappe bounced out of the Champions League in PSG’s 1-0 defeat by Dortmund and was given two out of 10 in L’Equipe’s brutal ratings, Joselu got top marks for goals No 16 and 17 of his season as Madrid sent Bayern Munich packing.

Joselu has only played 1,900 minutes so, at a goal every 112 minutes, he has the best strike-rate in the squad.

The fact he will only cost £1.3m for Madrid to keep him, that he’s captain Dani Carvajal’s brother-in-law, one of Jude Bellingham’s best pals on the training pitch (he has nicknamed him Crouchy), and massively effective, might mean he stays next season. But even if that’s not the case, he is in a Champions League final on June 1 after two seasons of being relegated, at Alaves and then Espanyol, and more than a decade after he thought his last chance at Madrid had gone.

Dortmund coach Terzic was in tears at Signal Iduna Park on the final day of last season, speechless in front of the Yellow Wall that had stayed to sing to the players despite them having blown the league title by drawing with Mainz. Now, the club who still manage to sell season tickets for only £163 are set to make £86m for reaching the Champions League final.

The combination of UEFA payments based on passing rounds, market pool, coefficient and group-stage win bonuses will be boosted by the receipt of a further £3.9m if Dortmund beat Madrid at Wembley.

No one gives them much of a chance but they have been used to that since topping a group that included Newcastle, AC Milan and PSG.

A Dortmund fan, Terzic cried last May not just for the lost glory of a title but for the economic damage that failure would do to the club he supports. Now, 12 months on they are quids-in.

Just as happy with their coach are Olympiacos, 6-2 aggregate victors over Aston Villa and into the Europa Conference League final, where Mendilibar will lead them against Fiorentina at the home of their great rivals AEK Athens on May 29. He was sacked by Sevilla in October, just eight games into the season.

Meanwhile Edin Terzic faces a mammoth task of defeating Real Madrid in the Champions League final

Meanwhile Edin Terzic faces a mammoth task of defeating Real Madrid in the Champions League final

Sevilla had only won twice and were struggling to juggle league games and the Champions League, which the 63-year-old had led them into by winning the Europa League last season.

There’s a belief among some that Mendilibar is old-fashioned. He told Spanish football magazine Panenka: ‘No one plays long balls into space anymore. Not everything has to be to feet.’

He also used to be accused of ‘never having won anything’ before his Europa League win last season. This despite having won the fifth, fourth, third, and second division in Spain.

Sevilla replaced Mendilibar with Uruguayan coach Diego Alonso, who failed to win any of the eight league games he oversaw before he was fired. Mendilibar didn’t hesitate when Olympiacos came calling in February and with Sevilla in mid-table without him, he’s in another European final.

For ‘Mendi’, Terzic and Joselu football has given them another chance and this week each man grabbed his with both hands.

Sancho, Bellingham and Kane flying the flag in my Champions League XI 

The last word will not be had on the Champions League team of the season until the final but an XI based on quarter-final and semi-final performances includes three English players plus one player on loan from an English club.

Ian Maatsen was unwanted and close to returning to Burnley for a second season last summer. But there has been no better left back in the tournament. 

Jadon Sancho becomes the first Manchester United player since the Sir Alex Ferguson era to make the Champions League final, and there is no one better for the right side of the attack. Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane are in too.

Terzic has revitalised Jadon Sancho since the winger arrived on loan from Manchester United

 Is this the end for Toni Kroos? 

Toni Kroos looked like he was saying goodbye to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday when, instead of following his Real Madrid team-mates down the tunnel after their raucous post-match celebrations following their win over Bayern Munich, the German stayed on the pitch gazing up at the empty stands, eventually being joined by his wife and children.

One of football’s individuals, it would be just like him to retire from club football with Madrid at Wembley and then bow out of international football after the Euros. 

Meanwhile Toni Kroos could look to bow out on the ultimate high after reaching another European final

Meanwhile Toni Kroos could look to bow out on the ultimate high after reaching another European final

Not that there have been any signs during Madrid’s games against Manchester City and Bayern that Kroos, 34, is close to being past his best.

He and Luka Modric, 38, are both due to meet club president Florentino Perez next week to discuss whether they stay or go. Both can win a sixth Champions League winner’s medal against Borussia Dortmund. Neither can ever be properly replaced.

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