FCK ready to defend Parken fortress
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
FC København look up against it as they welcome Real Madrid CF needing a positive result, but an excellent home record at Parken gives defender Lars Jacobsen hope.
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For Lars Jacobsen, the secret of FC København's success at Parken in the UEFA Champions League is quite simple. "When 40,000 people are cheering for you, everything gets easier," said the full-back of the Danish title holders' impressive unbeaten record at home in the group stage.
Since FCK made their UEFA Champions League debut in 2006, five clubs with European Cup-winning pedigree have tried and failed to take three points at Parken, notably Manchester United FC – beaten 1-0 in 2006 – and FC Barcelona, who drew 1-1 in 2010. Only Chelsea FC have ever won here in this competition, a 2-0 victory in the 2010/11 round of 16.
Tuesday night will bring another big test of their proud unbeaten group stage record when Real Madrid CF, already through as Group B winners, come to town but FCK have reason to believe. Jacobsen told UEFA.com: "When we have played here at Parken Stadium, we have been more relaxed when we have ball, especially in the first half [of games]. Away, we have felt more under stress.
"We also defend better when playing at home," he added, noting that the support of the FCK fans really does make a difference. "It really affects us. We feel more safe and comfortable at home."
Coach Ståle Solbakken added weight to Jacobsen's argument, telling UEFA.com: "As with every other team, it is more difficult playing away than at home, especially for the small nations like Danish teams. The atmosphere, the culture and the safety here are important ingredients – we feel safer at Parken and maybe the opponents have a little bit more respect when they come here."
This season FCK have maintained their run by defeating Galatasaray AŞ and drawing with Juventus, and Solbakken added: "The record here at Parken gives us a feeling of safety. I think that the players feel it. Even though many of our current players haven't played that much in the Champions League, they read the statistics and they bring the statistics with them as a club and as a team."
If past results at Parken provide happy reading for the Copenhagen club, who need a positive result again to have any hope of pipping Galatasaray to third place in their group, there are other statistics that hint at a less favourable outcome: Real Madrid have won eight of their ten previous meetings with Danish teams while FCK have never beaten a Spanish side before.
Home comforts in Copenhagen
0-0 v SL Benfica
1-0 v Manchester United FC
3-1 v Celtic FC
1-0 v FC Rubin Kazan
1-1 v FC Barcelona
3-1 v Panathinaikos FC
1-1 v Juventus
1-0 v Galatasaray AŞ