RTP Unia Racibórz are facing two-time European semi-finalists Brøndby IF in their opening UEFA Women's Champions League tie but the Polish champions' coach Remigiusz Trawiński believes an upset is possible.
Unia welcome Brøndby for the first leg of their round of 32 tie on Wednesday, having bowed out at this stage to Austria's SV Neulengbach on their debut a year ago. Trawiński, also chairman and the main sponsor of the club he set up in 2000, is hopeful they can take their dominant Polish form into Europe.
"We await the match against Brøndby with eager anticipation," Trawiński said. "Though we had hoped for a less demanding opponent at this stage, we do not fear the Danes. They will be everybody's favourites to go through to the next round, but we know how to play football too.
"We set our goals quite high, as we don't just want to win our third consecutive league title and second Polish Cup in a row," the 52-year-old added. "We also want to be successful on the international stage. It is important to be at your best at home, but after winning everything on the domestic front, you need to prove yourself outside your country. Our main goal is to reach at least the quarter-finals."
His confidence is not baseless as the Unia squad contains eight of the Poland side that came so close to pipping Ukraine to the FIFA Women's World Cup play-offs. "We have rebuilt our squad a bit," Trawiński said. "Some older players left but some young and hungry ones came in." Patrycja Pożerska, from AZS Wrocław, should be the new midfield general while Aleksandra Sosnowska, signed from AZS Biała Podlaska, will replace Daria Kasperska in the heart of the defence following the latter's summer transfer to newly-promoted Pogoń Szczecin Women.
Assistant coach Andrzej Jasinski, like Trawiński a former player for MKS Odra Wodzisław Śląski, thinks Unia learned quickly last season when, having lost 3-1 at home to Neulengbach in the first leg, they nearly turned the tie with a 1-0 away win.
"We showed a lot of fighting qualities but we paid the price for inexperience," Jasinski said. "This season it should be a different story even though we are playing an extremely strong team and must be both physically and psychologically at our peak to take them on. We will be motivated to the maximum against Brøndby and if we get a good result at home we will travel to Copenhagen with our heads up to battle it out on foreign soil."
Trawiński, a former men's coach and a successful businessman, is allowing himself to dream of the round of 16, when their opponents could be Everton. "And we would like to meet Arsenal in the quarter-finals," he added.
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