Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Steaua Bucharest coach Marius Lacatus insists his side “still have a chance of qualifying” as they seek their first Group H points at home against Sevilla.
Steaua’s third coach this season following the departures of Gheorghe Hagi and Massimo Pedrazzini, Lacatus has not abandoned hope of a Champions League comeback.
“People ask me about our objectives,” he said. “I say we still have a chance of qualifying. It seems to be easier to settle for fighting for third position and a place in the UEFA Cup, but it isn’t at all. Let’s think about beating both Sevilla and Slavia Prague and aiming to qualify. This is the best attitude.
“Sevilla are a very good team with skilful players who have proved their ability in recent years and in the Champions League this season. The result may depend on my team having a very good day and our opponents not, and I have no doubt our players will give everything to win our first points.”
Steaua’s campaign has not been helped by long-term injuries to Mirel Radoi, Sorin Ghionea and Mihaita Plesan, while Pawel Golanski is absent with a groin injury and Eric Bicfalvi damaged his right leg in training last Friday.
Nonetheless, Lacatus believes a win could kick-start their season, saying: “It is an extremely important match, not only for me – because it’s my first in the Champions League – but also for the players, because if the result is positive it might lift morale. If we get a good result we might play much better in the future.”
Sevilla coach Manuel Jimenez replaced Juande Ramos after Matchday 3, and having presided over Saturday’s 2-0 Primera División triumph over Real Madrid in his third game in charge, the former reserve-team coach is looking very much at home in the hotseat.
“This is a different competition and Steaua are a very good team – they will be eliminated if they lose so will do everything to win, which makes the match much more difficult,” he said. “But ambition characterises all our players and that has to be the case if we want to win the Champions League. It’s not a vain ambition.”
Such ambitions could be undermined by a lengthy injury list which includes Khalid Boulahrouz (groin), Duda (ankle), José Ángel Crespo (cheekbone) and Federico Fazio (calf), although Frederic Kanoute, Andres Palop and Ivica Dragutinovic returned at the weekend.
“I definitely won’t risk anyone who is carrying a minor injury, and it’s going to be hard to field our best team,” said Jiménez. “Our defence will be the worst affected, but this is the Champions League and we have to find the best solutions.”