KS Amica Wronki will hope to finish the job at home against Servette FC as three UEFA Cup first-round ties reach their climax tonight.
Polish club KS Amica Wronki will hope to finish the job against Servette FC as three UEFA Cup first-round ties reach their climax tonight.
Trio of ties
There are 48 matches to be completed in the first round, with the rest following on Thursday after the trio of games this evening. As well as Amica's return against Servette, Aberdeen FC will hope to build on their 0-0 home draw against Hertha BSC Berlin, and FC Shakhtar Donetsk need a miracle against FK Austria Wien after a 5-1 reverse in Vienna.
Wary of threat
Amica came from two goals down in the first leg a fortnight ago to win 3-2 in Geneva, but will be wary of the threat posed by their Swiss visitors. Servette reached the fourth round of last year's UEFA Cup before coming unstuck against the might of Valencia CF, losing 5-2 on aggregate.
'Going to be tough'
Amica coach Miroslaw Jablonski's team warmed up with a 1-1 draw at home against TS Wisla Kraków. "I'd like to see my team performing the way we did in the second half in Geneva," Jablonski said. "I'd be happy to see my team in the third round but first we must eliminate Servette and see what happens next. I know it's going to be tough."
For their part, Servette will feel they still have every chance. They will need Alex Frei in form and the Swiss international warmed up with a goal in Saturday's 2-0 league victory against FC Zürich. Another key man is midfield player Goran Obradovic, who limped off injured in the first leg, an event which coincided with Servette's collapse, but will be fit tonight.
It is 20 seasons since Aberdeen's greatest hour in European competition when, guided by Sir Alex Ferguson, they defeated Real Madrid CF 2-1 to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. The Pittodrie club will be without Scotland defender Kevin McNaughton for the visit to Hertha, though, after he suffered a knee injury in the 3-1 weekend win against Dunfermline Athletic FC. Striker Laurent D'Jaffo is also a doubt after damaging his groin on Saturday.
'Nothing to lose'
"I think our first game against Hertha was the turning point in our season," said D'Jaffo. "After that game we have gone on to play some very good football. We have nothing to lose in Germany and I don't see why we can't play the same way there."
Hertha, who lost 1-0 to TSV 1860 München on Saturday, have had a disappointing start to the 1. Bundesliga season and are out to make amends in Europe. Key defender Marko Rehmer is expected to recover from an ankle knock while midfield player René Tretschok is also fit but the Brazilian duo Nene and Alex Alves are absent.
The night's final game sees Shakhtar welcome Wien, knowing they have to overturn a four-goal deficit from the first leg. Following that defeat, coach Nevio Scala resigned and his replacement Valeri Yaremchenko will be hoping to restore some pride. It looks a tall order, however, as Shakhtar are without star striker Julius Aghahowa and are up against the top team in Austria this season.