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FC Bayern München's Italian international defender Massimo Oddo believes the Group F leaders will be in for a torrid time when they take on an ACF Fiorentina side who "cannot afford to get it wrong" at the Artemio Franchi Stadium on Wednesday.
Although Bayern beat the Serie A club 3-0 in Germany two weeks ago, the result belied a strong attacking performance by the visitors who created several scoring chances. Now the Viola can count on passionate support as they battle to qualify from a section which Bayern top with seven points, followed by Olympique Lyonnais on five, Fiorentina with two and FC Steaua Bucureşti on one.
"It will be a difficult game against a very strong team who play good football, in an atmosphere that is bound to be heated," Oddo said. "It's one of the hottest grounds in Italian football. It should be a great game, but we'll need total concentration." Looking back, the 32-year-old former AC Milan and S.S. Lazio right-back added: "I've played a lot of games here and I remember the last one with Milan, when we won. But history doesn't count for much, what matters is tomorrow's game. And it will be very, very tough."
Oddo, a member of Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup-winning squad, knows the German champions have to deny their opponents the kind of opportunities they enjoyed in Munich: "The scoreline was clearly in our favour, but in the game itself Fiorentina could have scored a few goals. We allowed them to create several chances and they got one too many opportunities to hit us on the break. Tomorrow, when they can draw on that home support, we've got to be very careful."
One man whom Oddo will need to keep an eye on, is another of Italy's world champions from two years ago, striker Alberto Gilardino, who is back for Fiorentina after a two-match domestic ban. "He's been able to rest so he'll be in top condition and he'll certainly be looking to do well," Oddo said. "But
I think the whole Fiorentina side will be fired up for this because they know it's a crucial game for them. It's a turning point and they cannot afford to get it wrong."
Van Bommel vow
Like Oddo, Bayern captain Mark van Bommel will be taking nothing for granted in Florence, although he makes it clear the four-time European champions have not come to defend. "We saw in Munich that Fiorentina could really have scored as many goals as we did," said the Dutchman. "We respect them, but we're certainly not frightened. We know it's going to be a tough atmosphere but we can draw on the fact we've had to battle in conditions tougher than these. The important thing is to go into the game with the right spirit. Attack is often the best form of defence and we should be looking to attack."
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