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Beşiktaş JK are taking nothing for granted against FC Zürich as they attempt to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in four seasons.
The Turkish side earned a 1-1 draw in Switzerland a fortnight ago, with Matías Delgado scoring early for Beşiktaş, and having won their first three Süper Lig matches the hosts have cause for optimism. However, coach Ertuğrul Sağlam is wary of underestimating the challenge of Wednesday's third qualifying round second leg at the Inönü Stadium. "We want to qualify for the group stage but there are no guarantees in football," he said. "We will not sit on our away goal; we will stick to our usual game. I hope our supporters will give their best to carry us to victory."
Beşiktaş will be without defensive midfielder Koray Avcı through suspension while new signing Federico Martín Higuaín also misses out. Brazilian forward Bobo – who set up Delgado's goal at Zürich – should play despite sitting out Saturday's 1-0 win at Gaziantepspor with a knee injury. Visitors Zürich, meanwhile, have hit form since Alexandre Alphonse grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser in the first leg, beating UEFA Cup contenders FC Sion and BSC Young Boys 5-0 and 5-1 in their last two Super League games. "The team have shown lots of character," said coach Bernard Challandes. Chairman Ancillo Canepa added: "Maybe people will start believing me when I say this year's team are stronger than last year's."
Defender Steve Von Bergen left Zürich to join Challandes' predecessor Lucien Favre at Hertha BSC Berlin on the eve of the first match, yet there have been no departures since. The current coach still has selection worries though. Alphonse travelled to Istanbul but has failed a fitness test on his left ankle and is unavailable; Hannu Tihinen and Silvan Aegerter are both doubtful. Challandes will partner striker Rafael Araujo with either Eric Hassli or Eudi Silva de Souza.
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