If the pre-match musings of Sorin Cârţu and Louis van Gaal are any guide then anything other than an FC Bayern München win at CFR 1907 Cluj on Wednesday would constitute a major surprise.
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If the pre-match musings of coaches Sorin Cârţu and Louis van Gaal are any guide then anything other than an FC Bayern München win at CFR 1907 Cluj would constitute a major surprise. If the German side extend an seven-match unbeaten run against Romanian opposition with victory they will qualify for the knockout stages with two matches to spare. Van Gaal, though, says his men are "taking nothing for granted", especially after being pushed all the way before winning 3-2 when the sides met a fortnight ago.
Sorin Cârţu, CFR coach
I don't think Bayern are any less dangerous than they were in Munich. Their team will be similar to last time so we won't go charging in. We respect Bayern and anticipate a very tough game: they are always very strong in possession games and are very difficult to play against.
Bayern are 90% there in terms of securing a place in the top two and they are going to play their normal game, with lots of possession. The key will be stopping them impose their style – we'll wait and see. We'll need a lot of luck to get a draw but even that would be a good result against Bayern.
Louis van Gaal, Bayern coach
We are very confident – we're not even considering the possibility of losing. I think the motivation to win here comes from reaching the final last year. The players are used to being motivated for every game so the gap between the two teams in terms of points is not an issue for me and my players.
We have two central defenders to deal with Lacina Traoré – [Martín] Demichelis and [Daniel] Van Buyten – so I'm thinking about them, not the striker. As for Bayern never losing to a Romanian team, history is very important in football but it can always change so we are taking nothing for granted.
Gabriel Mureşan has not played since picking up a right leg injury on 24 September. Yssouf Koné is not in the UEFA Champions League squad having suffered knee ligament damage in CFR's win against FC Victoria Brăneşti on 2 August.
Van Gaal confirmed that Holger Badstuber (groin) would miss the game, but there were no further additions to a lengthy injury list which features Miroslav Klose (hamstring), Franck Ribéry (ankle), Arjen Robben (thigh), Mark van Bommel (knee), Ivica Olić (knee) and Diego Contento (groin). He has a squad of only 15 players.
30/10/10 FC Oţelul Galaţi 1-1 CFR
(Iorga 58; Peralta 90)
For the third away league game this season CFR ended with nine men after Lacina Traoré (69) and Leo Veloso (85) were dismissed. Not in CFR's UEFA Champions League squad, Sixto Peralta scored his first goal of the season to earn a point against the league leaders.
29/10/10 Bayern 4-2 SC Freiburg
(Demichelis 39, Gómez 61, Tymoshchuk 72, Kroos 80; Reisinger 64, Braafheid og 87)
Danijel Pranjić set up Bayern's first three goals: the opening two from corners and the third with a pass that allowed Anatoliy Tymoshchuk to score his first Bundesliga goal. Bayern are five matches unbeaten, winning four at home and drawing 0-0 at Hamburger SV on 22 October.
Did you know?
As a young player at AFC Ajax, Van Gaal worked under Romanian coach Ştefan Kovács. Kovács, who played for CFR in the late 1940s, died in Cluj-Napoca 12 days before Van Gaal led Ajax to their fourth European crown in May 1995.
For more information see the match background.