After winning two successive Swiss titles, FC Zürich's sights are set on a bigger stage as they welcome Beşiktaş JK to the Hardturm Stadium for their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie.
Challandes in charge
Zürich are back in familiar territory atop the Swiss Super League after five matches but they have undergone significant changes this summer, with coach Lucien Favre leaving for Hertha BSC Berlin. Former Switzerland boss Bernard Challandes has followed Favre's lead so far, although he noticed signs of complacency on Friday when the champions had to come from behind to beat bottom side FC St. Gallen 3-1. "I warned them not to take the task too lightly, but they thought they could do it without hard work," he said.
Challandes will not expect his team to make the same mistake against Beşiktaş, who are also under new management in the shape of 37-year-old Ertuğrul Sağlam. Zürich were beaten by Austrian neighbours FC Salzburg in the second qualifying round last term and the pressure is on Challandes to achieve group stage qualification – or risk losing some prized assets. Favre has been keeping an eye on his former charge Rafael Araujo and should Zürich slip here, the Brazilian striker could yet join the coach and defender Steve von Bergen in Berlin.
Sağlam, meanwhile, has passed his first test at the helm of the Istanbul club – seeing off FC Sheriff in the second qualifying round – as Beşiktaş bid to return to the group stage for the first time since 2003/04. Beşiktaş kicked off their Süper Lig campaign with Saturday's victory over Konyaspor, yet Sağlam is far from settled on his side. Tying striker Bobo to a new contract until 2011 comes as a boost while Mustafa Doğan, Gökhan Güleç and Can Erdem have been allowed to leave. Talented 16-year-old forward Batuhan Karadeniz was given 45 minutes against Sheriff before scoring four goals in a reserve outing against Konyaspor, increasing Sağlam's attacking options.
Playmaker Matías Delgado will know plenty about Zürich after signing from FC Basel 1893, and he should be raring to go after being rested against Konyaspor. Sağlam also left out newcomers Edouard Cissé and Lamine Diatta but all three are expected to start in Zurich. "We have to forget about our win against a strong opponent in Konyasor because we have a very important game to play against Zürich," Sağlam said.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.