Internazionale FC winger Andy van der Meyde is hoping to celebrate his birthday with a second Group B victory.
By Paolo Menicucci
Dutch winger Andy van der Meyde turns 24 today. A goal tonight like the one the Internazionale FC player scored against Arsenal FC would certainly be a good way to celebrate his birthday.
More of the same
After beginning their UEFA Champions League Group B campaign with a 3-0 victory at Highbury two weeks ago, Inter will be hoping for another three-point haul from their first home game tonight against FC Dynamo Kyiv.
Consecutive Serie A stalemates against Sampdoria UC and Udinese Calcio may not represent the ideal preparation, but Dynamo will be aware that Héctor Cúper's side have not conceded any goals in their five matches so far this season - and have lost only two of the last 14 Champions League games.
Ahead of Inter's final pre-match training session, uefa.com caught up with Van der Meyde, who scored his team's second goal against Arsenal with a superb volley. "When I joined Inter, I could only dream of starting the Champions League like that," he said. "It was an incredible performance by the whole team and I scored a nice goal. I could not have asked for more."
When asked why Inter have not repeated that form in Serie A, the AFC Ajax old boy, who signed for the San Siro club in the summer, is in no doubt. "Arsenal tried to play good football but they also allowed us to play well. It's not the same when we face smaller teams, who are just trying to defend and close space," he said. "I expect Dynamo to play an open match because I know they have the ability to come to San Siro and play for more than just a point."
The Kiev giants have an enviable Champions League pedigree. This is their eighth season in the competition and their seventh in succession; only Manchester United FC, FC Porto and Galatasaray SK have appeared in the tournament on more occasions. "It will be a difficult tie because they are a good team with plenty of Champions League experience," Van der Meyde said.
The Dutchman also refuses to worry about his side's relative lack of goals, just three in four league games. "We just have to be patient because we are creating many opportunities. The goals will come," he said. "And we cannot forget that we have played almost every match without Christian Vieri. He can score goals when he's fit."
Inter, two-time European Champion Clubs' Cup winners, lifted their last trophy in 1998 when they defeated S.S. Lazio in the UEFA Cup final. For their last domestic success you have to go back to 1989. However, Van der Meyde maintains the squad is not feeling the pressure.
'We never talk about this'
"Only outsiders and newspapers talk about Inter's lack of silverware," he said. "In the dressing-room we never talk about this and we don't feel any kind of pressure. We know we are a good side and we have the possibility to win something this season.
'Going all the way'
"I think our team is even better this year. Hernán Crespo left, but a few good players have joined. We have a chance of going all the way in this competition," he continued. "It's impossible to predict which team will win because there are many teams who can challenge for the trophy. I also hope that my former club Ajax can go far in the competition - but obviously not as far as Inter."