Anorthosis Famagusta FC defender Traianos Dellas has urged his side to seize their chance as the Cypriot titleholders prepare to make their UEFA Champions League debut against Werder Bremen in Group B on Tuesday.
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Anorthosis Famagusta FC defender Traianos Dellas warns against writing his side off as they prepare to make their UEFA Champions League debut against Werder Bremen in Group B on Tuesday.
'Anything can happen'
Anorthosis may start as underdogs, but after knocking out group stage perennials Olympiacos CFP in the third qualifying round, the Cypriot champions will believe they can make an impression at the Weserstadion. "Werder are obviously the favourites and they have more experience than us, but as football has shown many times, anything can happen," said Dellas, who is likely to play in front of the defence in Germany.
'Enjoy the game'
The 32-year-old Greek international centre-back, who joined Anorthosis from AEK Athens FC during the summer, knows what it takes for an underdog to triumph. He played a major part in Greece's UEFA EURO 2004™ success, and is urging his team-mates to grab the chance now presented to them. "We will go there to enjoy the game and if an opportunity arises to take something more from the match, you can be sure we will seize that chance. At this level every mistake is costly and usually it results in a goal. We will need to minimise our mistakes so as not to give that chance to Werder."
Defender Jeffrey Leiwakabessy spent two years at TSV Alemannia Aachen and would not have expected to return to Germany so soon after his close-season transfer to Cyprus. Having featured in all six of Anorthosis' qualifiers – against FC Pyunik, SK Rapid Wien and Olympiacos – the 27-year-old Dutchman thinks there may be more glory nights to come. "Qualifying for the Champions League group stage is a great success which we should enjoy," he said. "Maybe Rapid and Olympiacos underestimated us. We would be happy for other teams to do the same, because both Rapid and Olympiacos paid the price. We made a statement by eliminating those clubs and I am sure other sides take us seriously now."
Having got this far, though, Leiwakabessy also reckons the pressure on Temuri Ketsbaia's men is increasing. "We can definitely feel it – but we can deal with it," he said. "We're definitely ready for the Bremen match and we're not scared of them. We know about their team and we still have the advantage that people do not know all that much about us."