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FC Girondins de Bordeaux are hoping that fast-paced football can help them overcome Club Brugge KV in the first leg of their UEFA Cup fourth-round tie at the Chaban-Dalmas stadium.
The Ligue 1 side have had a good look at their Belgian opponents and are hoping that they can keep things brisk against a side who started the European campaign in the UEFA Champions League.
'On the floor'
They are a very athletic team with tall and strong players," said Bordeaux coach Michel Pavon. "They also feature one or two technically-gifted guys like Andrés Mendoza and Gert Verheyen. To overcome such a team we'll need to put the ball on the floor and play as quickly as possible."
Striker Jean-Claude Darcheville, back in the squad after a long absence through injury, is expected to lead the line alongside Moroccan youngster Marouane Chamakh, who scored three goals as Bordeaux earned a 5-1 aggregate win against Poland's Groclin Grozdisk Wielkopolski in the previous round.
Bordeaux's main concerns will be in defence where Hervé Alicarte is injured and Kodjo Afanou suspended, but they will take some confidence from the fact that Brugge also have injury worries after a bruising 1-0 win against Belgian first division leaders RSC Anderlecht at the weekend.
Slovenian international Nastja Ceh has a groin injury while Mendoza is experiencing thigh problems, but both look likely to be available for the game. Perhaps of more concern is right-sided defender Olivier De Cock, who has been training on his own after suffering an ankle injury against Anderlecht.
"During the match against Anderlecht I went over on my ankle," he said. "But
I will do anything to play this match. You do not get too many chances in your career to play in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup. I am even prepared to take a painkilling injection in order to start this match."
'Like a dessert'
Brugge are 13 points adrift of Anderlecht in second place in the Belgian league, but despite the big gap, defender Timmy Simons insists domestic matters are the club's main concern. "The UEFA Cup is like a dessert for us - the league is our main course," he said. "I think we have a 50-50 chance against Bordeaux."
As usual, the club's Norwegian coach Trond Sollied was unwilling to reveal what plans he had for the game, except to say that he had identified Bordeaux's main threat. "We know we can expect technically good football with a team from the French league, so I do not want an open match," he said.
With Bordeaux hoping to pass the ball around and Brugge seemingly determined to do everything they can to interrupt their hosts rhythm, it appears there is a good chance of a close game, with everything still open for the second leg in Belgium on 25 March.
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