With their UEFA Champions League play-off tie against FC Steaua Bucureşti balanced on a knife edge, Legia Warszawa coach Jan Urban says his side can no longer be considered the underdogs.
Jakub Kosecki's away goal secured a 1-1 draw for the Polish champions in Romania last Wednesday, and former Poland forward Urban feels the tie could now go either way. "Before the first match, I had Steaua as favourites; however, the 1-1 draw brings us closer to the group stage and now I see the chances as 50-50," he said ahead of Tuesday's return, as the club seek to win through qualifying for the first time since reaching the quarter-finals in 1995/96.
One of the biggest factors influencing Legia's fate will be how they handle the pressure of the occasion at the Stadion Wojska Polskiego. "I know we can make history both for Polish football and our club, and we feel the responsibility resting on us," said Urban. "Concerning the pressure before the match, I am not sure about the players but I am keeping calm. I know we will go into the match with big ambitions, but that is not enough – we'll have to play very good football."
Legia's only injury concern regards Bartosz Bereszyński, with a decision on the defender's availability due on the day of the game. Given that they are close to full strength, forward Marek Saganowski believes the Ekstraklasa outfit have what it takes to progress. "There is pressure, but we feel strong," he said. "We have to keep calm and not think too much about the importance of the match. You dream about such matches; you wait for them and we will do everything to go through."
Steaua are similarly buoyant as they target a seventh participation in the group stage and their first since 2008/09. "We've come here to win, play a good match and stay close to our opponents' goal for as long as possible," explained the Romanian champions' coach Laurenţiu Reghecampf. "The most important thing for us is to progress to the group stage. I don't care if we win or get a draw that takes us through like 2-2."
Hoping for good news on the fitness of defender Vlad Chiricheş, with midfielder Mihai Doru Pintilii already out, Reghecampf is especially keen for his side to be consistent. "I hope that in Warsaw we'll finally be able to play well for an entire match. We created many chances [in the first leg] and could have scored more goals. But there will now be big pressure on Legia. We're used to playing big teams in UEFA competitions and now we want to reach the group stage for our fans."