Smalling, along with his Fulham team-mates, will depart for Hamburg on Tuesday looking to upset the odds by beating Spanish side Atletico Madrid to lift the first major trophy in the club's 131-year history.
Smalling's impressive performances during the opening stages of the campaign caught the eye of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who moved to sign the defender in a £10million transfer in January.
It is all a world away from where the 20-year-old was two years ago when he was turning out for Isthmian League side Maidstone United.
"If you would have told me that I'd be in a European final back when I was at Maidstone then I wouldn't have believed you," the England Under-21 defender said.
"This is the sort of thing that I used to dream of when I went to bed at night back then. This has been a great journey for us. We just have to kick on now and come away with a winners medal."