Partizan Belgrade v Marseille
Marseille will be hoping to earn a place in Friday’s UEFA Cup draw by beating Partizan Belgrade.
Real Madrid and Porto have already qualified from Group F and Marseille coach Alain Perrin, admitted that the UEFA Cup was firmly in mind.
“We’ve come here to qualify for the UEFA Cup, and that means not losing,’ said Perrin.
‘You have bad runs in football, but I believe we have the power to fulfil our duty and continue in European competition.”
Partizan coach Lothar Matthaus though is confident that his side can pip the French side to the prize.
“I am not happy that we will not be playing for the right to stay in the Champions League, but I recognise that we entered this tournament as underdogs and I cannot be angry,” said Matthaus.
The Serbo-Montenegrin champions have yet to win in the competition, suffering a 3-0 defeat in Marseille.
The former German captain said: “This task is not impossible and I will ask my players to keep a cool head, to stay motivated and not be afraid.”
Partizan will be without Nigerian Taribo West, despite the defender being fit again after recovering from a knee injury. West has not been picked for in-house disciplinary reasons.
Matthaus’ side will also be without goalkeeper Ivica Kralj, with Polish defender Tomasz Rzasa facing a late fitness test on his thigh strain.
Marseille will miss striker Steve Marlet and Swiss international midfielder Fabio Celestini through injury.
Real Madrid v Porto
The Spanish side know that a draw at the Santiago Bernabeu will be good enough to win the group.
Queiroz is expected to rest Raul Gonz‡lez and Ivan Helguera who both have minor injuries.
“The club’s medical staff have decided that Raul and Helguera should be omitted from the squad,” confirmed Queiroz.
Queiroz is also likely to hand first team experience to youngsters Jordi Lopez, Alvaro Mejia and Jose Manuel Jurado, alongside other established players.
David Beckham could feature despite being a yellow card away from receiving a one-match ban.
The Real Madrid coach is expecting a competitive match but expects to take all three points.
“Both teams want to win and I’m sure we are in for a competitive match of great quality,’ added Queiroz.
‘We can’t take decisions in a Champions League game that doesn’t show respect for the fans, for football and for the prestige of the club. When the ball starts rolling you always want to win.”
Last season’s UEFA Cup winners Porto, will miss Jorge Costa and Maniche through suspension, while Nuno Valente is suffering a problem with his knee.
Coach Jose Mourinho insists that his side can beat Real Madrid on their own turf.
“We have come to win,” he said.
“Playing against teams like Madrid is always difficult because they have the best players in the world, but Madrid are not invincible.”