The official website for European football

Nordsjælland live in hope for Zenit success

Published: Tuesday 30 July 2013, 9.31CET
"This is a bonus match for us and we're not expecting to progress," said FC Nordsjælland coach Kasper Hjulmand as his team prepare for the visit of FC Zenit.
by Nicklas Vinde
from Farum
Nordsjælland live in hope for Zenit success
Nordsjælland coach Kasper Hjulmand has billed his team as overwhelming underdogs ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

NordsjællandZenit

Goals scored0
14
Possession (%)0
100
Total attempts23
 
62
on target6
 
35
off target14
 
23
blocked0
 
0
against woodwork1
 
2
Corners12
 
21
Offsides2
 
23
Yellow cards4
 
6
Red Cards0
1
Fouls committed31
 
48
Fouls suffered17
 
48
Passes0
1019
completed0
736

Matches

30 July 2013

SalzburgSalzburg - FenerbahçeFenerbahçe
PAOKPAOK - MetalistMetalist
PSVPSV - Zulte WaregemZulte Waregem
LyonLyon - GrasshoppersGrasshoppers
BaselBasel - Gyori ETO / Maccabi Tel/Aviv
Sligo Rovers / Molde - The New Saints / Legia Warszawa
HJK Helsinki / Nomme Kalju - Viktoria Plzen / Zeljeznicar
GNK Dinamo / Fola Esch - Sheriff / Sutjeska
NordsjællandNordsjælland - ZenitZenit
Slovan Bratislava / Luogorets Razgrad - Shirak / Partizan
Dinamo Tbilisi / EB/Streymur - Steaua Bucuresti / Vardar
APOELAPOEL - Birkirkara / Maribor
Celtic / Cliftonville - Elfsborg / Daugava Daugavpils
BATE Borisov / Shakhter Karagandy - Neftci / Skenderbeu
Austria WienAustria Wien - Ekranaas / FH

31 July 2013

 
Published: Tuesday 30 July 2013, 9.31CET

Nordsjælland live in hope for Zenit success

"This is a bonus match for us and we're not expecting to progress," said FC Nordsjælland coach Kasper Hjulmand as his team prepare for the visit of FC Zenit.

An underwhelming start to the domestic season has prompted FC Nordsjælland boss Kasper Hjulmand to quell expectations ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round opener against FC Zenit.

After winning the Danish Super League title for the first time in 2012, the Farum outfit pitted their wits against the continent's elite in the group stage of Europe's premier club competition last term. Despite accruing just one point from an uncompromising section containing then holders Chelsea FC, Juventus and FC Shakhtar Donetsk, they bowed out with their pride firmly intact.

Hjulmand's charges have since fallen on harder times, relinquishing their league crown to FC København after finishing the 2012/13 campaign as runners-up. Meanwhile, defensive frailties – not helped by the loss of colossal centre-back Jores Okore to Aston Villa FC – triggered an opening day 4-0 reverse at Esbjerg fB. A subsequent 1-1 home draw with Viborg FF did little to take the heat off a batch of new players still finding their feet.

"We are not as strong as we want to be at the moment. It will take a lot of time for the players to adapt to the system. This is a bonus match for us and we're not expecting to progress," explained Hjulmand, who is nonetheless determined to savour the occasion. "We are definitely underdogs and therefore have nothing to lose. Twelve months of hard work has rewarded us with two big games and we must enjoy it."

If Hjulmand does harbour a glimmer of hope, it lies in his ability to galvanise a squad that has been depleted by the loss of eight first-team members since their maiden title triumph. "We have to be united as a team to beat Zenit. Player-by-player, they are much better than us, but football is a fantastic game where a collective effort can sometimes pull you through," said the 41-year-old.

"First of all, we need to get through the first half without conceding," added captain Nicolai Stokholm, scorer of the club's sole league goal so far this term. "We want to go into the second leg in Russia with something to play for – we don't want anything to be decided before then.

"A draw would be a great result. I believe there is a small chance. I know we can play at a higher level than we have done so far this season and Zenit have also been struggling in Russia."

Last updated: 04/09/13 23.27CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000477/match=2011719/prematch/preview/index.html#nordsjælland+fear+worst

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.