Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Sevilla coach Juande Ramos is taking nothing for granted for the visit of Steaua Bucharest.
Sevilla should be favourites tonight, but Ramos not only respects Steaua, he knows the Champions League can throw up surprises such as Marseille’s 1-0 victory at Liverpool three weeks ago.
“Regarding that match in particular, it is a firm reminder to us all that in the Champions League, the level of quality between all the teams is very equal,” said Ramos.
“It was something I already believed: that this competition can produce any result at any time. Nothing should be a surprise. I’ll ask my players to pose problems for Steaua by imposing a very high tempo, and to try to get a goal or two ahead as early as possible. That was a successful recipe in our last game against Slavia and it is our strongest weapon when we play at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.”
Sevilla dispatched Steaua 2-0 in Bucharest and 1-0 in Spain in last season’s UEFA Cup. Luis Fabiano was not among the scorers then, yet Ramos says he may now be his key striker, with seven goals from his last eight appearances.
“Luis is an excellent footballer but he has an unusual mentality,” Ramos said. “When he’s on form he just oozes confidence, but when he’s not he doesn’t. He and the team need to make the most of this purple patch that he’s in.”
Steaua coach Massimo Pedrazzini was equally respectful of his opponents, but he refuses to believe his side are underdogs.
“Not only do I see this match as a 50-50 contest, we’ve come here to win and I genuinely believe that the key to our result is whether the players, like me, believe 100 per cent that we are capable of winning,” Pedrazzini said.
“The so-called inferior team does not always lose and I watched very closely the video of Sevilla playing Deportivo La Coruña in their penultimate league match, creating ten chances but losing 1-0.”
Pedrazzini will be without full-back Pawel Gola?ski and defensive midfielder Florin Lovin.