BV Borussia Dortmund look to defend Germany's honour at AC Milan on Tuesday.
By Marcus Christenson
BV Borussia Dortmund coach Matthias Sammer is hoping his side can defend Germany's honour with a win at AC Milan on Tuesday night.
Sammer's side go into their final UEFA Champions League second group stage game at the San Siro knowing that they must get a better result than Real Madrid CF, who play at FC Lokomotiv Moskva, in order to reach the quarter finals. "We have nothing to lose," said Sammer. "We can only give our all and show what we can do."
With FC Bayern München and Bayer 04 Leverkusen having been eliminated from the Champions League while VfB Stuttgart, Hertha BSC Berlin, FC Schalke 04 and SV Werder Bremen have all fallen by the wayside in the UEFA Cup, the pressure is on the reigning German champions. Should Dortmund fail, Germany would have no team in the quarter-finals of Europe's two premier club competitions for the first time in 19 years.
Dortmund will be without Czech Republic playmaker Tomáš Rosický, who has a thigh injury, and his international team-mate Jan Koller is also doubtful with a calf problem. If fit, Koller is expected to play with Brazilian duo Ewerthon and Marcio Amoroso providing the backing in an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
'We can beat any team'
Midfield player Stefan Reuter is adamant that whether Dortmund reach the last eight or not a win is essential to maintain their pride. "We are going to Milan to win and to show the rest of Europe that we can beat any team," he said. "If we win and we still go out we can at least leave the competition with our heads held high."
Knowing that Dortmund intend to give his side a rough ride may have helped strengthened Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti's resolve. Though his side have already reached the quarter-finals as Group C winners, Ancelotti would love a win to give his side confidence ahead of their vital Serie A game against Juventus FC at the weekend.
'My best team'
"Every game is important for us and this one especially so," he said. "We want to raise morale and the belief in the squad ahead of Saturday's game and I will of course play my best team."
Ancelotti had been expected to rest a few players for Tuesday's game, but recent draws in the league against AC Chievo Verona and Reggina Calcio and a Champions League defeat against Madrid last week have persuaded him that his players need sharpening up.
"Recently we have played well and created chances but not been able to convert them," he said. "I hope that we will be able to score from our chances [onTuesday}."
Ancelotti is facing a minor crisis in defence with Kakha Kaladze, Thomas Helveg, Roque Junior and José Antonio Chamot all ruled out while midfield players Serginho and Massimo Ambrosino are missing due to injuries. Andrei Shevchenko and Jon Dahl Tomasson are expected to start up front.