Striker Bogdan Stancu said it would be "suicide" for FC Steaua Bucureşti to play for a draw as they look to build on a 2-2 first-leg result when they host Galatasaray AŞ.
Steaua were held in Istanbul despite taking a 2-0 lead, and while those two away goals could prove crucial in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie, Under-21 international Stancu – who scored twice in his side's 2-2 draw at CF Gloria 1922 Bistriţa at the weekend – feels the Romanian side have to go for a win. "It would be suicide to play for a draw," he said. "We will have to risk everything and target a victory. It is the most important game of my career and it will be a life or death match."
With Steaua aiming to reach the group stage for a third time in succession – emulating their treble of 1994/95, 1995/96 and 1996/97 – coach Marius Lăcătuş is without Ifeanyi Emeghara, Mihăiţă Pleşan, János Székely and Paweł Golański, while Dorin Goian and Ovidiu Petre face late fitness tests on thigh muscle injuries. Lăcătuş, however, may be more concerned about a lack of focus and after the Gloria game he said: "The players had their minds on the Galatasaray match. We all have to understand that you cannot treat two games differently. We are professionals and we have approach all matches at the same high level. Whoever plays for Steaua has to be good and prove it whenever he is asked to play."
Galatasaray have one last chance to prove their credentials as kick-off in Bucharest draws near, and coach Michael Skibbe is determined his side will not make the same mistakes they did in the first leg at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium. "We will play a different game," explained the former Bayer 04 Leverkusen coach. "The team are used to playing together now. Some of the players have returned from injury, most importantly Harry Kewell."
The Cimbom started their Turkish Süper Lig campaign with a 4-1 trouncing of Denizlispor at the weekend but still have concerns, not least the absence of right-back Sabri Sarıoğlu, who will miss out with a groin injury. Skibbe will have to deploy a midfielder in his position, possibly Barış Özbek or Tobias Linderoth. Meanwhile, Hasan Şaş (back) and Ümit Karan (thigh) have recovered from injuries, but Emre Güngör has a thigh strain. Aykut Erçetin is expected to play in goal, with Skibbe concluding: "We are totally focused on the match. We know how important the return leg is."
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