Squad news

PREVIEW: LECH POZNAN - DEPORTIVO (UEFA, 20h45)

03 Dec 2008
Important game in Poland that could certify the pass to the round of 32, for this Depor needs a victory against a rival that has been very solid at home and that has Robert Lewandowski as its main weapon in attack. Lotina is practically using the same squad that defeated Feyenoord during the last matchday.

STATISTICS: LECH IS A SOLID RIVAL AT HOME
It’s a crucial game for both sides, mainly for KKS Lech Poznan. This is the last home game for the Polish side on the group stage and they know that defeat against Deportivo will quite likely mean the end of their UEFA Cup aspirations. Lech has a point in two games at group H, while Depor has added three, therefore a victory for the Galicians combined with a win of Nancy-Loraine over CSKA will automatically eliminate the Polish team.

But a victory of Lech combined with a victory of Nancy will put Depor in deep trouble, because Lotina’s team will need then to defeat the French side in the last matchday and to hope to see Feyenoord holding back Lech in the last matchday of the group. Therefore this is a match that both sides can’t lose. Deportivo has never faced a Polish side before, but this is the fourth meeting for Lech against a Spanish side (1 win, 1 draw and 1 defeat). They still dreaming of repeating the 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in 1983.

A thing to have in mind is the solid record of Lech playing at home. The Polish side still unbeaten in four home games in Europe on this season, and have been on impressive goalscoring form at the Miejski Stadium, scoring 16 times in the course of those matches. At the Orange Ekstraklasa (Polish league), Lech has only lost one game at home (2-3 Vs Belchatow) while they have won three of the other six games played there. A curious fact is that in 3 of the 4 home matches played in UEFA on the season, Lech has scored a goal within the first ten minutes: Grasshoppers (4’) Austria Wien (10’) and Nancy (5’).

Meanwhile Depor has won five games away from the Riazor on the present season, this after twelve visits (seven in liga, one in Copa and four in Europe). The Galicians have shown their worst face when they play away from home, but curiously they have won two of the four matches played in this condition during the European season: 2-1 at Bnei Sakhnin and 2-0 at Hajduk Split.

DEPORTIVO: SAME SQUAD THAT CRUSHED FEYENOORD
Coach Lotina revealed on Wednesday’s evening his plans for this game: he will use the same lineup that defeated Feyenoord one week ago, though the Basque is making two modifications. The changes are right-back Manuel Pablo and midfielder Juan Rodr?­guez who were left in La Coru?±a in order to rest. Their places will be taken by youngster Adri??n L??pez â€?Piscu’ and Canadian Julian de Guzm??n.

The rest will be the same squad, with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal, Filipe Luis at the left-back position, Argentine Diego Colotto and Catalan Albert Lopo at the centre of the defense, Sergio playing alongside De Guzm??n in midfield, Andr?©s Guardado on the left wing, Cristian at the right sector, Juan Carlos Valer??n in the playmaking function and Mista in attack.

Despite that the level of Deportivo decrees when the squad plays away from home, it must be appointed that the Galician squad is living its best moment on the season as it has won seven of the last eight official games disputed during the last month (one in UEFA, two in Copa and five in liga). The only setback in this period of time has been the 1-4 at Atletico Madrid in la liga, score that’s also the worst one since Lotina took charge of Depor a year and a half ago. Another thing worrying Deportivo is the cold temperature, and it’s that the temperature could be -5 degrees C at the hour of the match.

Albert Lopo talked before the trip to Poznan, he was defining the goal of Depor in this game �We will face a cold temperature, the conditions won’t be the best ones, but we must take care about ourselves. We can’t be thinking in combinations for the last matchday but to sell the qualification now. We will win this game, because we want to obtain something positive from there.�

Juan Carlos Valer??n talked with the press during his arrival to Poland �So far, everything is doing well. Here in Poznan is a little cold. Obviously, we were aware about it, but we will know more about the pitch tomorrow in the evening. Lech is a difficult opponent. We need to be positive�.

Called players (19) Aranzubia, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Piscu, Laure, Lopo, Ze Castro, Colotto, Filipe (defenders); Sergio, Antonio Tom??s, De Guzm??n, Cristian, Lafita, Valer??n, Verd??, Guardado (midfielders); Mista, Omar Bravo and Riki (strikers).

LECH POZNAN: BEWARE OF LEWANDOWSKI
The Polish side was previously known as KS Amica Wronki, but they changed their name and moved to Poznan in May 2006, with the club that had been playing as Lech Poznań being dissolved. In their original incamation, Lech Poznan’s finest European seasons came as they reached the second round of the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup twice and got to the second round of the European Champions Clubs’ Cup during the season 1990/1991.

The original Lech has never progressed beyond the first round in UEFA, and now they want to break that roof. And a key factor for this is the impressive scoring record of the Polish club. So far they are the most scoring side at the Orange Ekstraklasa (29 goals in 16 matches) and they already scored 20 times in eight UEFA appearances during this season.

And a key player for this has been Robert Lewandowski, a 20-year-old Polish attacker that already scored twelve goals on this campaign (8 in league and 4 in UEFA). He has been nicknamed â€?the Polish Fernando Torres’ or â€?the Polish Marco van Basten’. Lech signed Lewandowski from Znicz for about €400,000 and his name has been linked with several big clubs in Europe. For the game against Depor, Lewandowski will be joined by Peruvian Hern??n Rengifo. The ex-Universitario (nicknamed Charapa or turtle) has scored three times at the Orange Ekstraklasa and has taken his tally of goals to 17 since he joined the squad in 2007. 

The formation for the game will be a 4-4-2 and the defensive zone is conformed by Croatian Iv??n Turina at the goal, Polish Grzegorz Wojtkowiak at the right-back position, ex-Vitoria Ivan Djurdjevic at the left spot, while the duo Zlatko Tanevski-Manuel Arboleda will play at the centre of the defence. This last one is an interesting combination since Tanevski is from Macedonia and Arboleda from Colombia.

At midfield territory, coach Franciszek Smuda is presenting the duo Semir Stilic-Tomasz Bandorwski, Stilic was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has been compared to Tottenham’s Lukas Modric due to his skills, it is rumoured that clubs like Arsenal are chasing him. Meanwhile, Bandorwski is an attacking midfielder that signed for Lech after playing 37 games with German side FC Energie Cottbus. The attacking formation is completed with Slawomir Peszko covering the right wing and Jakub Wilk the left sector. Both players recently debuted with Poland’s national squad.
 
Serbian Dimitrij Injać is out of the game after picking an injury in the last game against Odra Wodzislaw (calf), while Rafal Murawski will be on the bench since he’s not totally recovered from a muscular problem.  Murawski is an offensive midfielder that already scored three times on the local league. He was talking before the game about the importance of the meeting â€?I think this match for Lech may be the most important one on this season, because a win will ensure our continuity in the group. First of all, it is a very difficult meeting. Primera Divisi??n is one of the best leagues in Europe, and Deportivo won the last meeting there.â€?

List of called players: Not released.

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Lech Poznan: Turina - Wojtkowiak, Tanevski, Arboleda, Djurdjevic - Peszko, Semir Stilic, Bandorwski, Wilk - Lewandowski, Rengifo.
Deportivo: Aranzub?­a - Adri??n L??pez, Colotto, Lopo, Filipe - Sergio, De Guzman - Cristian, Valer??n, Guardado - Mista
Referee: Craig Thomson (SCO).
Kick-off: 20h45 (Miejski Stadium)

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/08

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