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TSV Alemannia Aachen captain Erik Meijer is relishing his first game against a team from his native Netherlands in a decade as the 2. Bundesliga side welcome AZ Alkmaar to Cologne for the first leg of their UEFA Cup last-32 tie.
The 35-year-old striker admits he is not short of motivation. "Nothing can compare to beating the Dutch," he joked. "If I have a chance to stop them, I will do so." Aachen coach Dieter Hecking has Moses Sichone suspended, Cristian Fiel and Florian Bruns injured, and Jens Scharping ill, but midfielder Reiner Plasshenrich may return after knee trouble.
Hecking is not unduly worried as his second division team take on the Dutch championship contenders. "We are happy being underdogs and look forward to the challenge," he said. "We want a good result in Cologne in order to set ourselves up nicely for the second leg in Alkmaar."
His opposite number, Co Adriaanse, hopes that captain Denny Landzaat will recover from flu, but the same bug keeps out striker Kenneth Perez. Defender Juha Reini has a thigh injury, so teenager Haris Medunjanin and Ron Vlaar - who turned 20 on Wednesday - are added to the 19-man squad.
Adriaanse, meanwhile, has downplayed media suggestions that Aachen are the equivalent of a Dutch second division side. "Aachen compare more with a club like Roda JC. In the Eredivisie they would compete for the UEFA Cup places," he said.
The coach sent assistant Edward Metgod to watch Aachen, and Adriaanse revealed: "From what I heard, they have a Dutch style - the 4-3-3 system with a lot of guts. So it will be a meeting of two similar styles, which could be very interesting."
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