Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – SK BRANN BERGEN (UEFA, 21h00)

01 Oct 2008
Deportivo searches a new glorious night in Europe trying to surpass a 0-2 disadvantage against Norwegian side SK Brann. For this reason Lotina has called all his available strikers and intends to play with Valer??n as the leader of the offensive efforts. Brann comes with the intention of not been intimidated by the Riazor and will try to score a goal that could decide the tie.

STATISTICS: DEPOR NEEDS A THREE-GOAL VICTORY
In order to achieve the pass to the group stage, Deportivo needs a three-goal win at the Riazor. This is going to be the 53rd match played at the Riazor for European competitions, and during those games the Galicians have achieved eight times the needed score for the occasion. The last occasion in which Depor did this was for the Intertoto 2005 after Depor defeated BC Buducnost Podgorica with a 3-0 score.

An interesting statistic is that Depor has only scored more than two goals when it has hosted a Norwegian side during one occasion. It was for the 4-1 win over Rosenborg tough the game reached extra-times with Depor scoring three goals on it (UEFA 94/95). In the other two opportunities Depor couldn’t score more than two goals against a Norwegian squad: 2-0 Vs Stabaek (UEFA 99/00) and 1-0 Vs Rosenborg (Champions League 2003/2004).

Another interesting situation is the one of FK Brann, because the Norwegians already faced a similar advantage in the aggregate score in the past. It was for the UEFA cup 1998/1999, at the time they were facing Werder Bremen in the first round and they also won the first-leg with a 2-0 score, but in the end they were eliminated as they lost the second game in Germany (0-4)

DEPORTIVO: SEARCHING A LITTLE MIRACLE
Key match for a Deportivo that needs to take advantage of all its opportunities up front and to not make any mistake at the back zone. The qualification is not only a matter of pride but also of money. The pass to the group stage will secure an income of €70,000 and the amount could reach the €3.3 million if the Galicians reach the quarter finals. But to conquer a 3-0 victory won’t be a easy task, actually Depor has only achieved a similar score once within the last year and a half, it was the 3-0 win in liga over Athletic Bilbao (April 13th 2008).

Coach Miguel ?ngel Lotina, who will miss the game due to a strange suspension,  is trusting in Juan Carlos Valer??n in order to direct the ?Blanquiazul orchestra’, El Flaco hasn’t been a starter since the Intertoto cup and now he returns in order to lead the offensive efforts for Depor. Other player that’s fulfilling a comeback is Riki, the Madrilenian returned after an injury during the game with Valencia and now he will have a chance appearing in the starting squad, it seems as the left winger.

This means that Andr?s Guardado will start the game on the bench. The right wing will be for ?ngel Lafita, the Aragonian is just making his first appearance as starter after his operation due to his appendicitis. In attack Omar Bravo will have a chance after the game with RCD Mallorca.

The main problems for Lotina are coming in midfield, because Julian de Guzm??n wasn’t able to surpass an abductor injury and also because Juan Rodr?guez has been rested since Lotina considers he’s exhausted after the last games. This two absences leaves Depor’s coach without a defensive pivote, reason why he will have to improvise putting two offensive men in midfield. One of them will be Sergio, the Catalan returns after missing the game with Valencia and after the polemic discussion with second coach Ribera. It seems his partner will be Antonio Tom??s tough Lotina could also use Joan Verd?? for the job.

In defence Lotina will keep playing with a line of four men, the novelty is that Laure will go out of the starting formation as his place at the right-back position will be taken by Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’. With this modification Lotina is hoping to avoid the problems lived in the first-leg with the Norwegians and also with Valencia. The rest of the defensive sector will be the usual one with Aranzubia on goal, Filipe Luis on the left side while Z? Castro and Albert Lopo will cover the centre. However Diego Colotto might have a chance taking the spot of Z? Castro, this according to what was saw in the last training. Colotto made a terrible debut in the first-leg and he's waiting for a chance in order to impress.

?ngel Lafita, who will be a starter in the game, talked before the encounter and assured that Depor has the needed quality in order to pass the round ? Off course it’s possible to pass the eliminatory. We will have to attack since the first minute because we need a goal as soon as possible. Thanks to the warmth of the people and the will that we are going to put, I think we will pass the round. If we score soon, they will have a long game.?

Together with De Guzm??n, the casualties for injury reasons are Manuel Pablo, Antonio Barrag??n and Pablo Amo. The reader can check their status in the injury room. Pablo ?lvarez wasn’t called for the game, because Lotina thinks he’s tired after the last matches, just like it happened with Juan Rodr?guez. Since Lotina needs goals, he last called all his available strikers for the game (Riki, Bodipo, Mista and Omar Bravo), while Aouate and Mun??a continued sidelined.

List of called players (19): Aranzubia, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Laure, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Lopo, Colotto, Ze Castro, Filipe (defenders); Sergio, Antonio Tom??s, Verd??, Guardado, Lafita, Valer??n, Cristian (midfielders); Riki, Bodipo, Omar Bravo and Mista (strikers).

BRANN: TRYING TO KEEP THE CALM
The Norwegians know the 2-0 of the first-leg gives them a good margin to speculate in this game, but coach Mons Ivar Mjelde is aware that his men shouldn’t be locked at the back during the full match, especially taking in mind that his squad has not won a game away from home within the last four months, as the coach said ?We should be daring enough to take the initiative and not been limited to wait at the back zone, because in this way we won’t have our back against the wall all the time.?

It’s clear that Mons Ivar Mjelde is planning a game based in the counterattack, because he knows that a single goal for his side could sentence the pass. The main novelty in the squad that will play the Riazor is that captain Eirik Bakke is now fit to play after missing the first-leg for injury reasons. The rest of the starting squad is expected to be similar to the one that surprised Depor at the Brann stadion.

The starting squad includes the names of winger Erik Huseklepp and midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli, two men that have been called to Norway’s national team for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Scotland (October 11) and The Netherlands (October 15). However there are two doubts in the team that Mons Ivar Mjelde is preparing for the game.

The first one could be a forced modification, because central defender ?lafur Orn Bjarnason suffered an ankle sprain. If he’s not fit for the game, his place will be taken by Yaw Ihle Amankwah, a Ghanaian descent defender that made a good job replacing suspended Sigurdsson during last weekend’s victory over Lyn. The other novelty could be the appearance Azar Karadas playing alongside Erik Huseklepp in attack. Karadas missed the first-leg due to an injury, but now he’s fine and impressed on the past weekend scoring the first goal over Lyn. However Icelandic attacker ?rmann Bjornsson also has a chance to appear, he was the one that played in the first-leg and that gave a lot of troubles to Depor’s defence.

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Piscu, Z? Castro or Colotto, Lopo, Filipe - Sergio, Antonio Tom??s or Verd?? - Lafita, Valer??n, Riki – Omar Bravo.
Brann: Udjus - Dahl, Bjarnason or Amankwah, Sigurdsson, Hanstveit - Solli, Austin, Bakke, Moen - Huseklepp, Bjornsson.
Referee: Pavel Kralovec (CZE).
Kick-off: 21h00 (Riazor).

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