By Manfred Christoph
BV Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to repeat last season's emphatic 4-0 victory against AC Milan when the sides meet in UEFA Champions League Group C in Germany on Wednesday.
Matthias Sammer no doubt has memories of the Italian club from his days in Milan at Internazionale FC and will be trying to inspire his players to perform at levels usually associated with Milanese derby matches. But although the weather in Dortmund at present is bordering on freezing, Sammer said: "I think there are other things that will count rather than the temperature."
Sammer senses progress
Comparing the Italian side which underestimated Dortmund eight months ago with the current Serie A leaders, Sammer said: "Milan's latest results show that the team has grown. They are compact and solid and display a higher quality than in the UEFA Cup matches back in April." Sammer's opposite number, Carlo Ancelotti, was in agreement. He said: "This season we have become more mature and every game is different. However, Rivaldo and Clarence Seedorf are still doubtful, so we will have to wait and see."
Despite tickets for the game having sold out weeks ago, Sammer is approaching the encounter exactly as he would any other. "There are a number of things taken into account - but in principle everyone should in the end score one more goal than the opponent," he said. Ancelotti has great respect for the German side but remains full of confidence ahead of the game, adding: "
We want to concentrate on our game and on our strengths despite the quality of the opponent. We want to go through."
The key role could fall to Dortmund’s Brazilian Marcio Amoroso, who scored twice in the 3-1 win against 1. FC Kaiserslautern on Saturday. Sammer, as of yet undecided whether the 28-year-old will be in the starting lineup, said: "It is not a question whether he will play or not. Any player has to go on the pitch with this attitude: to go full speed right from the beginning. No matter if it is for 30, 60 or 90 minutes. And can you tell from this whether Amoroso will play?" Sammer shrugged his shoulders and glanced up at the ceiling. "Do you know what the secret is in football? That you avoid a goal against you. Just ask Milan."
Playing it down
Despite the magnitude of the Milan game, Sammer claims the domestic campaign is his priority, saying: "The Champions League is an independent competition and we want to win. However, the championship is clearly more important." Ancelotti echoed Sammer's words, playing down the importance of the Group C game. He said: "This match won't be decisive. We have another strong team still to face in Real Madrid [CF]. The qualification will not be known until the last game." That said, neither coach will turn down three points at the Westfalenstadion tonight.
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