FC Internazionale Milano kick off the defence of their UEFA Champions League title away to debutants FC Twente with another competition newcomer, Tottenham Hotspur FC, and SV Werder Bremen also providing the opposition in Group A.
While Inter president Massimo Moratti stressed it was a "difficult group", the Nerazzurri's rivals seemed to have more to fear, with Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf describing them as a "tremendous team and a great challenge".
Massimo Moratti, Inter president
It's a difficult group – extremely balanced. We will have to be very careful because we cannot consider any of these games as easy. Of course we are trying to win it again, but first we have to get out of this difficult group. Tottenham have not played at this level for a few years but they have a great tradition and will not struggle to adapt to the Champions League environment. Twente are another fresh team and we have to fear them.
We cannot relax in this group and certainly can't consider it easy.
Thomas Schaaf, Bremen coach
If you watched the draw, which involved honouring last year's best players, you realised just how good a team Inter are. Europe's best players – the best goalkeeper [Júlio César], the best defender [Maicon], the best midfielder [Wesley Sneijder], the best striker [Diego Milito] – all play for the defending champions.
Inter are a tremendous team and a great challenge for us. Tottenham have established themselves among England's best clubs while Twente were Dutch champions last year – that says it all.
Darren Eales, Tottenham director of football administration
We knew we were going to get a tough team from pot 1 and it will be really tough playing the holders. Twente won their league last season, Bremen finished third in the Bundesliga and beat Sampdoria in the play-offs so they are two solid, tough teams. It is so exciting; it is 48 years since we lost to Benfica in the semi-finals and I think at the time people expected us to get back into the competition much sooner than 48 years later.
Now we are here we hope to estabish ourselves and be successful for the future.
Michel Preud'homme, Twente coach
I had hoped to get the group with Barcelona, Panathinaikos and Copenhagen because we would have stood a really good chance. Instead we are in a very tough group with European champions Inter, Werder Bremen and Tottenham, who are perhaps the toughest team from pot 3. Last season Twente had a difficult time against Bremen [who knocked them out of the UEFA Europa League] and the presence of an English side makes it extra tough.
The group stage will be a good experience and maybe we can spring a surprise.
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