Málaga CF have travelled to Poland with 40 pairs of gloves, 50 woollen hats, 40 polar t-shirts, feather-lined coats, thick socks and 40 thermal blankets as they attempt to defy the Arctic temperatures in addition to KS Amica Wronki in one of three UEFA Cup second round second-leg ties tonight.
The Spanish side had to come from behind at home to establish a 2-1 advantage after Grzegorz Król opened the scoring two weeks ago. Marcelo Romero and Julio Dely Valdes came to Málaga's rescue after profligate finishing had threatened to undermine their chances of victory. Already buoyed by a fine first-leg showing, Amica will hope that Málaga freeze in temperatures which could dip as low as -7C.
'Returned to normality'
Yet the Málaga coach, Joaquín Peiro, believes his side can reach the last 32 after getting back on track in the Primera División by beating Club Atlético Osasuna 1-0 after three successive defeats. "We have returned to normality," he said. Amica drew 1-1 at Zaglebie Lubin on Friday and are seventh in the Polish Ekstraklasa.
FC Girondins de Bordeaux, meanwhile, are firm favourites to defeat Swedish champions Djurgårdens IF following a 1-0 success at the Råsunda stadium in Stockholm, Feindouno scoring in the 63rd minute. The French side continue to find comfort in the UEFA Cup after a miserable opening to their domestic campaign which has left them tenth in Ligue 1 after 14 matches.
Bordeaux swept aside ŠKM Púchov in the previous round but will be content merely to advance at Djurgården's expense. Coach Elie Baup hopes to have Savio and Jean-Claude Darcheville fit, the latter suffering no reaction to a back problem in Saturday's 2-0 victory against Stade Rennais FC. Portuguese defender Paolo Caneira, though, is a major doubt after damaging his ankle at the weekend.
Djurgården coach Sören Åkeby has no such worries and will field the same eleven which completed a domestic double at the weekend by beating AIK Solna in the Swedish Cup final. Tonight's game could mark the end of the career of Stefan Rehn, the 36-year-old midfield playmaker will retire at the end of Djurgården's season.
VfB Stuttgart may not have a goal to show for their first-leg efforts but hold the aces after shutting out Ferencvárosi TC at their Üllöi úti stadium. Determined defending was the key to the stalemate in Hungary and Stuttgart coach Felix Magath is expecting tonight's visitors to employ similar tactics at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion. "It will be a difficult match, Ferencváros will come to defend and will be difficult to break down," he said.
Cheer for Ferencváros
Thomas Schneider, Sean Dundee and goalkeeper Timo Hilderbrandt are all absent through injury for Stuttgart, while Ferencváros are without the suspended Attila Kriston. There was some cheer for the visitors, however, as the prolific Hungarian international striker Zoltán Gera was declared fit by medical staff at a Budapest hospital after suffering appendix pain.
The three successful teams tonight will join Hertha BSC Berlin - conquerors of APOEL Nicosia FC last week - in the third round. The remaining berths will be filled by the 20 winners of Thursday's second-round matches and the eight third-placed teams from the first stage of the UEFA Champions League.
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