Squad news


17 Sep 2008
Deportivo faces today the first-leg game in the UEFA Cup first round. The rival, SK Brann, is facing a lot of problems ahead of the match. But it’s also true that Depor has always faced troubles during its visits to Norway. For the match Lotina recovers the system with three central defenders. The novelties are the debut of Colotto, the presence of Omar Bravo and to see Guardado playing as left-back defender.

Norway has always been a difficult place for Deportivo, because after four visits to the Scandinavian countries (one to Denmark and three to Norway) playing for European competitions, Deportivo has always ended scoreless and has only achieved one draw: 0-1 Vs Aalborg (UEFA 93/94), 0-1 Vs Rosenborg (UEFA 94/95), 0-1 Vs Stabaek (UEFA 99/00) and 0-0 Vs Rosenborg (Champions League preliminary round 03/04).

However, Depor has never been eliminated by a Norwegian side, because in those three confrontations the Galicians defined the things at the Riazor. Deportivo arrives to this round after passing over Bnei Sakhin in Intertoto and Hajduk Split in the UEFA preliminary round. Meanwhile Brann will play the competition after been eliminated by Olympique Marseille in the Champions League third preliminary round.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina returns to the system of three central defenders for this game, formula that worked during the past season and that made possible the qualification to the UEFA Cup. This time the Basque manager is making rotations compared to the squad that lost at Villarreal. The main novelties are that Diego Colotto will debut with the Blanquiazul shirt and that Andr?s Guardado will cover the left-back position.

The former Atlas duo will be joined by Laure at the right-back position, while Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu and Albert Lopo will probably complete the formation on the centre. Daniel Aranzubia will continue defending the goal. In midfield Lotina is betting in Sergio and especially in Juan Rodr?guez in order to control the aerial game of the Norwegians, the most feared factor by Lotina (the average height of the rivals is 1.85 m).

A change made by Lotina within the last hours is the introduction of Juan Carlos Valer??n in the place of Pablo Alvarez . While Angel Lafita will cover the left wing and Omar Bravo will debut as starter during an official match. During an interview with newspaper La Opini??n A Coru?a, the Mexican explained that he’s prepared for the occasion ?Yes, it will be the first time in which I start in a official match. I haven’t done that since Venezuela, and I take it calmly and knowing the responsibility of this. It’s a very important match.  We must be highly concentrated.?

An interesting fact for this game it’s that seven of the eleven men in the probable formation are making a debut in a final round of a European competition: Laure, Colotto, Piscu, Guardado, Juan Rodr?guez, Lafita and Omar Bravo. Besides, seven of the eight men on the bench are facing the same situation: Fabricio, Filipe, Antonio Tom??s, Verd??, Bodipo, Pablo ?lvarez and Cristian.

The Norwegian side is facing a lot of problems ahead of this European confrontation. With only six matches remaining in the calendar, the current champions of the Tippeligaen are in mid-table and almost without a chance to catch a European spot for the next season. To make things worse some of the most important players in the squad have been facing physical problems, starting with captain Eirik Bakke who has been struggling from a tight problem.

Bakke didn’t play on the last weekend against Viking FK (1-1) and the doctors at the club aren’t sure if he will be fit enough for the game against Depor. Other important injury cases are goalkeeper Hakon Opdal and the strikers Njogu Demba-Nyr?n, Azar Karadas and Robbie Winters. Of this short list, only Scottish player Winters seems fit enough to play. Winters is an-Ex Dundee United striker that has scored 42 goals in 132 appearances with Brann.

In order to prepare the game against the Galicians, coach Mons Ivar Mjelde even had to use players from Bergen Second division club L?v-Ham. Because on Wednesday Espen Minde, Stephen Ademolu and Mads Cato Moldskred worked with Brann and helped their neighbours in the preparations to face Depor.

But not all are bad news for Brann, the casualties have allowed the debut of new faces like goalkeeper Kenneth Udjus (25), who impressed during the past game with Viking FK. Other player that has called the attention of the media is Jamaican midfielder Rodolphe ?Rudy’ Austin (23) who came loaned from Portmore United in August.

Other thing to have in mind is that despite the problems at Brann, the squad has only lost three times at home during the present season: 3-4 Vs. Molde, 1-2 Vs. Aalesund and 0-1 Vs Olympique Marseille. This last one for the Champions League third preliminary round.

Brann: Udjus - Dahl, Sigurdsson, Bjarnason, Hanstveit - Solli, Austin, Jaiteh, Einarsson - Winters, Huseklepp.
Deportivo: Aranzub?a - Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Piscu, Guardado - Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez – Lafita, Valer??n - Omar Bravo.
Referee: Johan Verbist (BEL)
Kick-off: 19h00 (Brann Stadion)

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