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Sébastien Frey hopes his belief that team spirit can trump "great individual players" will be proved right when ACF Fiorentina look to overturn a 2-1 deficit in the second leg of their first knockout round tie against FC Bayern München on Tuesday.
The Viola gave a solid performance at the Fußball Arena München three weeks ago, losing to a late Miroslav Klose goal after playing the final 17 minutes with ten men following Massimo Gobbi's dismissal. Should the Serie A club display the same kind of endeavour on home soil, then their French goalkeeper has no doubt that they can celebrate clinching a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
"Bayern have great individual players, but we've got a great team," Frey told UEFA.com. "And we showed that as a team, even when on paper we're supposed to be inferior, we can succeed in seemingly impossible situations. We've proved that, so we've got to try and repeat those sorts of performances, being really compact and united as a team."
Fiorentina illustrated they can make light of even the biggest reputations with five victories on their way to topping Group E, including the famous scalps of Olympique Lyonnais and Liverpool FC. "The one against Liverpool, in Liverpool, is a game that people in Florence really remember," Frey continued.
"Not just because we beat Liverpool [2-1] but because of the performance; it was just a magical evening. It was great and it made us realise that, whatever happens, nothing is impossible in football. We showed that, because we were playing a team that on paper were much stronger than us."
However, the 29-year-old conceded it will be difficult to contain the likes of Arjen Robben and his compatriot, Franck Ribéry. "Bayern are a big team," Frey said. "In the game we've just had over there, Robben was great; he was the one who really came to the fore. He didn't hide at all, but I can't go without mentioning my friend and fellow countryman, Ribéry. He was a different class and needs to be watched the whole time."
Those talents notwithstanding, the away goal scored by Per Krøldrup and the support of the Viola fans leave Frey optimistic about Tuesday's outcome: "It's important to have scored away from home. It gives us faith and hope because if we put in the kind of performance we managed over there, we'll definitely cause them problems.
"We'll also have the benefit of our fans, who for lots of reasons are desperate to see this match, so that could give us a hand too. The fans have always been there this season; they've never abandoned us. We're also fired up and determined to put in a big performance to try and turn it around."
Whatever the outcome, though, Frey considers the Viola's 2009/10 campaign to have been a big success. "This year we seem to have taken a step forward because we've got to the stage we're at now," he said. "So that's already a big victory for Fiorentina. However, we wouldn't be too upset to progress even further."
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