Club Brugge KV meet BV Borussia Dortmund tonight in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
Brugge are the home team for the first leg of a game which, along with S.S. Lazio's meeting with SL Benfica, could be considered the tie of the round. The Belgian champions' coach Trond Sollied has been keeping his plans to himself this week, although he is likely to be without midfield player Gaëtan Englebert because of injury.
Confidence in players
"I will not do anything stupid or take unnecessary risks," said Sollied. "I have to find the right balance in the team and attack our opponents' weaknesses." Despite injury problems, Dortmund coach Matthias Sammer, who has Sebastian Kehl available, said his players were in "fantastic physical shape". However, he warned: "They [Brugge] are a team with a lot of international experience."
Olympique de Marseille also have their eyes on a place in the group stage of the competition as they travel to FK Austria Wien for the first leg of their tie. Tipped by many as potential French champions, coach Alain Perrin is urging caution among his players.
'A solid team'
"Everybody is pinning great hopes on us qualifying for the Champions League, but I am expecting a really tough test," he said. The 1992/93 Champions League winners may be without defenders Philippe Christanval and Camille Borios who are struggling with muscle strains, and striker Didier Drogba is another doubt after limping out of a training session on Monday.
However, Marseille captain Fabio Celestini did not lack motivation when he said: "Winning this game would give us the chance to play against the likes of Manchester [United FC] and Real [Madrid CF]. If we can't motivate ourselves for that, what can we motivate ourselves for?
In the past I've always watched the Champions League on TV - in a few weeks' time, I'd like to be the one on the screen."
Over in Brussels, RSC Anderlecht look set to welcome back goalkeeper Daniel Zitka and South Korean forward Ki-Hyeon Seol for the visit of Polish champions Wisla Kraków after both missed the opening game of the Belgian season at the weekend. Coach Hugo Broos said: "We will not play all out attack, but we will have to take some risks to get at them. Wisla are quick on the break and have a dangerous striker in Maciej Zurawski. Luckily, they also concede a lot of goals."
In Switzerland, champions Grasshopper-Club await the visit of AEK Athens FC with some trepidation. With only four points from their first five league games, Grasshoppers are already eleven points behind leaders FC Basel, and coach Marcel Koller will hope that, with confidence low, things do not get any worse against their Greek opponents at the Hardturm stadium.
After losing 2-1 at home to newly-promoted Pécsi MFC at the weekend, Hungarian champions MTK Hungária FC also need lifting as they face Scottish league runners-up Celtic FC at the Ferenc Puskás stadium. Captain Béla Illés's return from long-term injury may provide the necessary boost. "You will see another MTK on Wednesday," promised Illés. "We left all the issues surrounding the Pécs game behind us in the dressing-room on Saturday," insisted coach Sándor Egervári. "We are only focusing on the game ahead."