After throwing away a 2-0 lead against Arsenal FC, R. Standard de Liège's László Bölöni wants an immediate reply against AZ Alkmaar. "It's important that we don't stand still after a setback," he said.
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Ronald Koeman said his AZ Alkmaar side "are longing for a victory" as the Dutch champions host R. Standard de Liège looking for liftoff after a difficult start to the season both in Europe and on the domestic front. AZ are eight points off the lead in the Eredivisie and lost their Group H opener at Olympiacos FC. Their Belgian opponents are hardly blazing a trail either and have won just four of their nine matches in defence of their title. They threw away a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 defeat by Arsenal FC on Matchday 1, and coach László Bölöni wants an immediate response.
Ronald Koeman, AZ coach
Standard are a bit like AZ. They've had a difficult start to the season after becoming champions last term. But they are a real team, compact and with good, fast players up front. It will be tough – they showed that against Arsenal – but it's not mission impossible. We are still calm, which is characteristic of the club. Obviously the atmosphere is different, as good atmosphere often goes together with good results. We are longing for a victory, and that has to be the goal for the game.
László Bölöni, Standard coach
We will do our best to get better results. The team are starting to learn and gaining courage. We need some good results. We started well against Arsenal, but now we have to collect some points. I expect my players to be enthusiastic, to be up for it, so our engine will run smoothly. It is important we do not stand still for too long after a setback. Obviously the Champions League is on a different level to our usual competition, so we need that perseverance. I do not believe the loser of this match will already be out of the competition.
26/09/09 FC Utrecht 1-0 AZ
• An early goal condemned AZ to their third successive Eredivisie defeat, a second yellow card for Simon Poulsen in added time completing a disappointing night for the Dutch titleholders.
• AZ have not scored in regulation time in four matches, including twice in the league – their first back-to-back Eredivisie shutouts since March 2007. Ronald Koeman's side have not drawn this season.
26/09/09 KV Kortrijk 0-2 Standard
(Dalmat 34, Angeli 90)
• Bölöni's side are unbeaten in 18 league matches – including last season's two-legged title play-off against RSC Anderlecht – winning eleven and drawing seven since a 1-0 loss at R. Charleroi SC on 22 March.
• Standard's 3-2 defeat by Arsenal ended a 15-match unbeaten home streak in all competitions.
Misses next match if booked: none
Out: Steven Defour (foot), Victor Ramos (hamstring), Cédric Collet (foot)
Doubtful: Dieudonné Mbokani (knee)
Misses next match if booked: none
• AZ have lost just once in 33 European home games since making their UEFA club competition debut in September 1977 – an 11-1 win against Red Boys Differdange at the Alkmaarderhout.
• The Dutch champions kept that remarkable run going at their new DSB-Stadium until 20 December 2007 – their last European tie before this season – when Everton FC won 3-2 in the UEFA Cup group stage.
• The sides, in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time, have both had only two previous fixtures against clubs from their opponents' country and their results have been the same – a win at home and an away defeat.
Did you know?
Koeman and Bölöni were opposing captains in a friendly between the Netherlands and Romania on 1 June 1988 in Amsterdam. The hosts won 2-0 in a game that proved Bölöni's 108th and final cap. A few weeks later Koeman lifted the UEFA European Championship trophy with the Oranje.