Last season's Bundesliga runners-up at least made a promising start by putting ten unanswered goals past Armenia's FC Banants in the first qualifying round. Yet the precedents remain firmly against a team whose last two continental excursions ended unhappily.
In 2007/08, Salzburg's defeat by FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round was compounded by their UEFA Cup first-round knockout by AEK Athens FC. The same had occurred 12 months before, with Valencia CF and then Blackburn Rovers FC being their nemeses. New Salzburg coach Co Adriaanse is staying positive, however. The Dutchman, who has signed a two-year contract to replace Giovanni Trapattoni, is promising to solve the problem from the front foot.
"I like attacking football. I want to encourage my players' technical skills and also to entertain," said the 61-year-old former FC Porto coach. So far, so good: Salzburg's opening five Bundesliga games of the season have yielded 13 goals, eleven points and the No1 spot. Where Trapattoni deployed two holding midfielders, Adriaanse uses three forwards.
Job to do
Already Austrian international Marc Janko has more league goals, six, than in all of last term when injuries impeded the 25-year-old. Still, nobody is taking the Sūduva challenge, on 14 and 28 August, lightly. "It will be a difficult tie, particularly the away first leg," said Janko. "It is important to get an away goal and then finish the job at our place."
Adriaanse's assistant Michael Streiter added: "We do not underestimate them because they will be really motivated. However, we simply have to get through." With Salzburg pledging to field their strongest XI, Cameroonian Somen Tchoyi should pull the midfield strings although fellow summer signing Robin Nelisse broke bones in his left hand against LASK Link on Sunday and may miss out. "We will make a late decision on the strikers," Streiter explained.
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