"I believe in our qualities," said KRC Genk coach Mario Been as he stressed the Belgian outsiders' intent to make their mark before their Group E opener against Valencia CF.
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KRC Genk may be outsiders in Group E but coach Mario Been underlined his belief in "our qualities" as the Belgian title holders prepared to embark on their first UEFA Champions League campaign since 2002/03 at home to Valencia CF. There was no lack of confidence in the Valencia camp either as boss Unai Emery revealed his dream of European glory.
Coach Mario Been
The UEFA Champions League will not only be an opportunity to visit some nice cities in Europe and to have fun, it will also be a way for us to show that we can play good football as well. Genk are the club with the least money in our group but I believe in our qualities. My players want to prove themselves [and] are excited by the atmosphere we have with the Champions League here. For me as a coach, it is as great to be in Champions League as is it for my players. Valencia are definitely a top club with fantastic players and it is great to have a Belgian team playing at this level. Genk will need a very good day tomorrow to have a chance against Valencia.
Friday: K. Sint-Truidense VV 3-4 Genk
(Reza 28, Christ 76, Kotysch 81; Buffel 29 50, Vossen 69, Tőzsér 88)
Köteles; Anele, Nadson, Simaeys, Pudil; Dugary (Vanden Borre 84), Hubert, Tőzsér, Buffel; Vossen, Kennedy (Benteke 61)
• Been made a successful bow as coach as Genk won their first Belgian First League game in five outings. Pierre Denier had been in caretaker charge since Frank Vercauteren left for United Arab Emirates outfit al-Jazira Club on 18 August.
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has not featured since tearing a calf against K. Lierse SK on 6 August and Been confirmed his absence, while also backing striker Marvin Ogunjimi, saying: "[He] will be selected even if he will not start because he did not play the last game as he was not mentally ready. Now he is ready." Centre-back Tordben Joneleit could be out until April after tearing cruciate ligaments in his left knee against KV Mechelen on 27 August. Goalkeeper Stijn Wertelaers suffered a fractured nose and eye socket in the 2-1 friendly defeat by TSV Alemannia Aachen on 1 September.
Coach Unai Emery
Our mentality will be to win, we will do our best to get the three points. All the players will be ready – we expect Genk will give everything and we've prepared for this because we want to avoid any negative surprises. Our goal is to get through the group stage and after that there is the dream of winning the Champions League. I think we can dream of winning this competition and if we don't make it this year, we will have chances again next year.
Saturday: Valencia 1-0 Club Atlético de Madrid
Guaita; Miguel, Rami, Víctor Ruíz, Mathieu; Pablo Hernández, Albelda, Tino Costa (Topal 67); Piatti (Alba 61); Jonas (Canales 70), Soldado
• Striker Roberto Soldado has registered 16 goals in his last 11 outings going back to 2 April.
Bruno Saltor picked up a right adductor strain against Real Racing Club on 27 August. His defensive colleague Miguel has been suffering from an allergy but "will be fine" for Tuesday according to Emery. The coach has also promised "an opportunity" for midfielder Daniel Parejo.
Valencia's only previous visit to Belgium for a UEFA Champions League game ended in a 2-1 win at RSC Anderlecht in the 2004/05 group stage. They have enjoyed four victories in nine matches against Belgian sides; away from home they have lost two and drawn one of four fixtures.