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After losing their opening Group G match to Sevilla FC, FC Unirea Urziceni coach Dan Petrescu has warned that he expects an improved performance against VfB Stuttgart. The Romanian champions may be playing their home games at the Steaua Stadium instead of their own ground, but he believes they are capable of pulling off a surprise. "My players have to understand that they are not debutants anymore," he said. Petrescu's opposite number Marcus Babbel, meanwhile, has been buoyed by a positive weekend result against Eintracht Frankfurt and will be looking to improve on an opening 1-1 draw with Rangers FC.
Dan Petrescu, Unirea coach
I have to admit we are delighted to be here at the Steaua Stadium. I played here for so many years and I am a little bit nostalgic, but as far as the match is concerned, my players have to understand they are not debutants anymore. Of course, VfB are favourites, but we have a chance as well and we have to go for it. We didn't make fools of ourselves in Seville. I hope we will be the first Romanian team to get a home UEFA Champions League win [since 1996]. It is hard to surprise German sides; their history – both at national team and club level – proves this, but our players can surprise them with invention and total commitment.
Markus Babbel, Stuttgart coach
We are happy to play our second group match against an opponent that is not so well known. They have a problem not playing at their home ground in Urziceni, but it's not our problem. We are totally focused on the match, on showing the same skills as in our last Bundesliga match on Saturday: aggression, running and commitment. They showed their ability in Seville, despite losing the game. They left very little space in defence and only conceded through errors. Unirea also play a very good attacking game and score plenty of goals. They are top in Romania so we will have to be very careful. We know who we're playing and what to expect. We have already played against a Romanian team this season [FC Timişoara, who Stuttgart beat in the play-offs] and we know how high the standard is. We had to give it our all to qualify.
25/09/09 Unirea 4-1 FC Petrolul Ploiesti
(Rusescu 13, Varga 59, Galamaz 64, Dănălache 90; Djokić 69)
• Unirea are 16 games unbeaten at home in Liga 1, since a 1-0 defeat by FC Politehnica Iaşi on 6 October 2008.
26/09/09 Eintracht Frankfurt 0-3 Stuttgart
(Schieber 17 31, Hitzlsperger 54)
• Julian Schieber made it three goals in two games as Stuttgart won over 90 minutes for the first time in eight outings. Eintracht had Marco Russ sent off on 33 minutes.
• Stuttgart have nevertheless picked up just eight points from their opening seven games, their worst start to a Bundesliga season since 2002/03.
Out: Iulian Apostol (knee)
Misses next match if booked: none
Out: Martin Lanig (cruciate ligament), Ludovic Magnin (left thigh), Aleksandr Hleb (muscular problems)
Misses next match if booked: none
• In their only previous home fixture against German opponents, Unirea lost 2-0 at home to Hamburger SV in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round to bow out of the competition after the away leg had ended scoreless.
• In the 2007/08 group stage Stuttgart lost all three of their away games, conceding nine goals and scoring four. Stuttgart have won only one of their last seven European fixtures on foreign soil in either the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Cup proper.
• Petrescu and Babbel came face to face twice during their playing career: a 1-1 draw between Romania and Germany in the UEFA EURO 2000™ group stage and 1-0 win for Babbel's Liverpool FC against Petrescu's Bradford City AFC in a Premier League fixture on 19 August 2000.
Did you know?
Unirea coach Dan Petrescu was in the Chelsea FC side that beat Stuttgart 1-0 to win the 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in Stockholm.
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