VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach promised the efforts of last season will not go unrewarded as they seek to overturn a 3-1 home loss to FC Dynamo Kyiv and seal a group stage place.
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VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach went down 3-1 at home to FC Dynamo Kyiv in their UEFA Champions League play-off opener last week, but centre-back Martin Stranzl says his side are "full of confidence" as they look ahead to Wednesday's decider in Ukraine.
Back in the competition for the first time since reaching the 1977/78 semi-finals, Mönchengladbach took a 13th-minute lead in the first leg yet lost their way thereafter. Stranzl, however, has not abandoned all belief. "We're OK and we're full of confidence," said the former Austria defender. "Yes, we have to solve a difficult problem, but we'll do all we can for victory.
"We need to exploit their weaknesses," added the 32-year-old, who was in the FC Spartak Moskva team defeated by Yuri Semin's Dynamo in the third qualifying round four years ago. "I hope we can change our current situation. We lost in Monchengladbach because of our own errors. We made too many mistakes and we have to address that."
Having led his side to a surprise fourth-place finish in the Bundesliga last season, coach Lucien Favre hopes that one uncharacteristic performance will not cost Mönchengladbach a UEFA Champions League berth. "We worked so hard last season and and did so well, so the home defeat was a big shock," he said. "Dynamo are at home, but we have a chance and we'll do all we can to take it. It will be difficult but not impossible."
Summer signing Álvaro Domínguez has made the trip to Kyiv, though he missed the weekend's 2-1 home league win against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim with a bout of gastroenteritis. One of Dynamo's first-leg scorers Andriy Yarmolenko – who skipped their 2-0 Premier League home victory over FC Chornomorets Odesa on Saturday with a sore throat – is also available.
Semin predicts that Dynamo will have to be at full strength ahead of a test he expects could be the biggest of a campaign already ten games and nine wins old. "We're bracing ourselves for a difficult match, maybe the most stressful so far," he said. "We're up against one of the best teams in the Bundesliga. On Saturday, Mönchengladbach beat Hoffenheim and looked very good doing so."
With a visit to chief rivals and champions FC Shakhtar Donetsk looming on Sunday, many in Ukraine are already focusing on the weekend – not in the Dynamo camp, though. "We are concerned only with Mönchengladbach," said Semin. "They are from the Bundeslaga, they never fail to perform, they will never give up."