Group G: Irureta fears difficulties for Depor

Javier Irureta believes RC Deportivo La Coruña are facing an uphill battle in Group G.

RC Deportivo La Coruña coach Javier Irureta believes his side face an uphill battle in their bid to qualify from UEFA Champions League Group G.

Tricky group
The Spanish side have been drawn with five-times winners Milan AC, last year's French league runners-up RC Lens and the 2000/01 European champions FC Bayern München, whom they face first in Germany.

'Exceptionally tough'
Irureta said: "Phew, it is an incredibly strong group, let's see if we can get out of it. Bayern are very strong at the moment and have already played three league matches so it is an exceptionally tough opener against them."

Milan memories
After travelling to Germany for that testing opener, Deportivo host Milan in a repeat of the 2000/01 second group stage match, which they lost 1-0, and then play back-to-back games against Lens, who were unbeaten at home in the French first division last season.

Rummenigge looking forward
In contrast to Irureta's scepticism, Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is excited by the strength of the group - and looking forward to welcoming capacity crowds. He said: "I'm personally really looking forward to the game against Milan. With Rivaldo and company in the Olympic Stadium it'll be a sell-out."

Italians on top
Milan and Bayern have met twice previously in two-legged European ties - and on both occasions the Italian side came out on top. In 1968 the sides shared a goalless draw in their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-final first leg in Munich before Milan progressed to the final by virtue of a 2-0 victory in the return leg.

Away-goals win
More recently Milan held their German opposition at bay to win the second leg of their semi-final 1-0 at the San Siro and progress to the 1990 European Champion Clubs' Cup final on away goals after a 2-1 defeat in Munich.