Club Brugge v Lokomotiv 20:45
After defeats for both teams – to Barcelona and Galatasaray respectively – on matchday one, this encounter already bears the hallmarks of a UEFA Cup play-off tie.
The Belgian league leaders produced a decent enough display last week but were still flattered by the 3-2 scoreline at the Nou Camp.
If a confident showing against Barca was not enough to warn Lokomotiv of Brugge’s strength, Trond Sollied’s side have begiunbthe season in impressive fashion, reeling off six successive wins. “We are happy with six consecutive wins,” said Sollied after Saturday’s won over Genk.
“OK, we did not play well in the second half and I am not sure whether that was because we were thinking about the Lokomotiv game. We know we must win thatone if we are not to finish last in our group.”
Brugge will again be without influential Romanian midfield player Alin Stoica. Bengt Saeternes, the Norwegian striker, Tj”rven de Brul, Sebastian Hermans and Birger Van der Ven are also ruled out because of injuries.
The Russian side were outplayed by Galatasaray, the Turkish champions winning comfortably 2-0 away.
Despite the defeat, Lokomotiv coach Yuri Semin believes that his side can still qualify for the second group stage.
“We can still take second place in this group as long as we play up to our maximum in our remaining five matches,” he said.
Semin will once more be without Russian international midfield player Marat Izmailov and Nigeria striker James Obiorah who are both injured.
Galatasaray v Barcelona 20:45
Galatasaray will be out for revenge when Barcelona visit the Ali Sami Yeni stadium tonight. The sides met in last season’s competition with the Spanish side – courtesy of Luis Enrique – earned the win for Barcelona that saw them progress to the quarter-finals at the expense of Galatasaray.
Christian Correra Dionisio, the Brazilian striker, will start for Galatasaray after being on the bench last week but Elvir Balic is still not fit . Coach Fatih Terimis allso cooncerned over the form of Hasan Sas who has been suffering from a World Cup hangover and may also have to be content with a place on the bench.
For the trip to Turkey, Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal will again be short of cover at the back with defender Patrik Andersson and full-back Philippe Christanval injured.
Winger Marc Overmars and striker Dani will also be missing because of injuries as will attacking midfield player Juan Riquelme who was injured on Sunday in training.
“We will have a tough task in Istanbul, but I trust my squad,’ said an upbeat Vann Gaal. ‘My players are in form. The (Galatasaray( player I have heard most about is Arif who is in top form. I have not seen much of him but we will see tomorrow.”
Mondragon; Sarr, Bulent,Almaguer, Hakan Unsal, Umit Davala, Batista, Felipe, Ergun, Arif, Christian.
Barcelona: Victor Valdes; Puyol, Frank de Boer, Fernando Navarro, Xavi, Cocu, Mendieta, Motta, Luis Enrique, Kluivert, Saviola.