Squad news

PREVIEW: AALBORG – DEPORTIVO (UEFA, 21h00)

17 Feb 2009
Deportivo traveled to Denmark with several doubts, but in the end it seems that Lotina will send a squad with Lafita and Valer??n as the main references. Meanwhile, Aalborg arrives to the game after been resting for two months. Andreas Johansson will be their main reference.

STATISTICS: NO LUCK IN SCANDINAVIA
This is the sixth visit of Deportivo to the Scandinavian region playing for European competitions, and the Galicians have lost four of the previous five games there. Actually, Depor hasn’t even scored a single goal in those away matches: 0-1 at Aalborg (UEFA 93/94), 0-1 at Rosenborg (UEFA 94/95), 0-1 at Stabaek (UEFA 99/00), 0-0 at Rosenborg (CL, 03/04) and 0-2 at Brann Bergen (UEFA 08/09).

The game also represents a comeback to the European origin of Depor, because Aalborg was the first rival that Deportivo met in its short but successful European career.  However, the Danish team faces a real challenge since, historically, only one team from that country has been able to eliminate a Spanish side during a European competition. It was OB (Odense Boldklub) who did it in a two-leg series over the almighty Real Madrid (1994).

Aalborg Boldspilklub (also called Aalborg BK or simply AaB) is the current champion of the Danish Superliga, but they are having a disappointing season as it only occupies the sixth position in the table (the league has only 12 teams), 12 points under the UEFA zone. Currently the Danish Superliga is ending the winter break and will restart until March. Despite the poorness in the local competition, AaB is fulfilling its most complete ever European season, ending third in their Champions League group and achieving good results, like the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United, precisely that was the last official game disputed by the Danish team (December of the past year.)

DEPORTIVO: THE INJURIES AFFECT THE SQUAD
The injury room has been pretty busy on these days, with four normal starters remaining in A Coru?a: Guardado, Bodipo, Riki and Manuel Pablo, plus Pablo Amo, central defender that was very important in the last part of the past season. To make the things worse, Albert Lopo (thigh), Joan Verd?? (toe), Mista (pubis) and Angel Lafita (ankle) have been doubtful during the week, and Lotina had to wait until the last training in order to know if he could count with the four of them. Besides Lassad and Laure aren’t inscribed for the competition.

Lotina was even joking before the trip to Denmark saying he was taking 18 players to the match just because the club already paid the plane tickets. At the end, the four men that were doubtful (Mista, Verd??, Lafita and Mista) are fit to play and Lotina is breathing more calmly since he has enough options to build up a lineup. As the Basque coach said before, he won’t be making too many changes compared to the team that drew with Osasuna.

The main modification is the return of Mista, the Murcian isn’t a starter since two months ago (against Valladolid in liga), and now he is taking the spot in attack since Bodipo and Riki are injured, and also because Lassad isn’t inscribed for the competition. This no matter his pubis problem isn’t healed at 100%. The other forward in the list for the game, Omar Bravo, will be sited on the bench. The Mexican has been linked during the week with a move back to his country, but it seems that Depor won’t allow his exit.

Depor will continue to play with a 4-3-2-1 system. Dani Aranzubia will continue to be the starting keeper, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’ will be the right-back since Manuel Pablo is injured and Laure not inscribed for the competition. Z? Castro, who is suspended for the liga game with Valencia, will continue at the centre and all appoints that Albert Lopo will be his partner, but the Catalan could be reserved for la liga, Lotina will take a late decision on Wednesday about this matter. If the ex-Espanyol is left out of the squad, Diego Colotto will take his place, the Argentine is the top-scorer in UEFA with three goals. Finally, Filipe Luis will continue at the left back position.

In midfield, the novelty is that Sergio is returning and will take the place of De Guzm??n, Antonio Tom??s also returns after been suspended in liga. The doubt is who will be the third pivote, the spot is disputed between Juan Rodr?guez and Joan Verd??, Lotina said to Radio Galega that Verd?? will probably play, but not during the whole 90 minutes because he wants to have ?fresh’ people for the liga encounter with Valencia.

The same goes for Angel Lafita and Juan Carlos Valer??n, Lotina assured that both men will play on Wednesday, but he said that his intention is to not use these two playmakers for the fully ninety minutes, though all will depend on the circumstances during the game.

?ngel Lafita, who was doubtful during the week due to a ankle problem suffered in the game against Osasuna, said before the trip to Aalborg that he is fit to play and hoping to participate in the match, ?It is a pretty game to play and to see for the fans, you don’t have the chance to participate in this during all the years, therefore a player must be really sick to miss a game of these characteristics. We all are hopeful about the UEFA Cup. For several of us, it’s a new competition and a golden chance to do the right things. In front we will have a tough rival, one that has played the Champions League and it won’t be easy.?

List of called players (18): Aranzubia, Mun??a (goalkeepers); Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Lopo, Filipe Luis, Colotto, Z? Castro (defenders); Antonio Tom??s, Verd??, Lafita, Sergio, Cristian, Valer??n, De Guzm??n, Juan Rodr?guez, Pablo ?lvarez (midfielders); Omar Bravo and Mista (strikers).

AALBORG: TWO MONTHS WITHOUT COMPETITION
The Danish team is a real mystery for Deportivo, it hasn’t played an official game since two months ago (2-2 at Manchester United in December) and to make things worse, it changed the coach during the winter break. Therefore, the fresh ideas of Magnus Pehrsson (the fourth coach of the club within the last year) hasn’t been seen in an official confrontation. AaB has played some friendly matches during the winter pause, but Depor’s coaching staff only has a writing report of them since none of those games were tapped. Therefore, they only have some hints about what to expect.

During the winter window, the Danish side made three signings: defender Kjetil W?hler plus strikers Luton Shelton and Marcus Tracy. But only W?hler will be part of the starting lineup that will face Deportivo. It’s expected that coach Pehrsson will send a 4-2-3-1 figure to the pitch. All starts with veteran Danish-Moroccan Karim Zaza at the goal, and with a defensive line composed by four men.

Depor’s coaching staff is aware that one of the stronger points at the Danish side it’s a strong and ordered defence, but it must be appointed that AaB is missing two key players on this game: ex-Feyenoord central defender Steve Olfers, who is injured (hernia), and left-back Martin Pedersen, who was transferred to Vejle Boldklub during the winter window. Danish international Kasper B?gelund will cover the right-back position, 23-year-old Michael Jakobsen and Australian Michael Beauchamp will play at the centre, while recent addition Kjetil W?hler, who normally plays as a centre back, will cover the left spot.

The good news in midfield is that Kasper Risg??rd is recovered from his knee problems, the defensive midfielder has already played 85 games with AaB and he will perform alongside captain Thomas Augustinussen in the defensive positions. Anders Due, who is cousin of ex-Fulham Claus Jensen, will cover the right wing and young Thomas Enevoldsen the left.

Brazilian Caca, the best scorer on the season for AaB, will not start in the match, therefore the creator of offensive game will be Andreas Johansson, Swedish player that was part of Wigan in the past and that’s considered the ?brain’ of the Danish team. A problem for AaB is the loss of Marek Saganowski, a Polish attacker that returned to Southampton during the winter window, he scored 6 times in 30 official games wearing the shirt of AaB. Now it’s expected that Jeppe Curth will start in attack, the 24-year-old forward had an Achilles problem, but he’s already fit to play. No matter his young age, he already completed 104 games with Aalborg and has scored 33 goals.  

Thomas Enevoldsen was talking during the week about the expectations for the game, ?We know we can do it again. We have shown that we can match any team, but it requires, of course, that we should demonstrate our maximum level. If we only reach the 90 percent, we will be defeated by a team as Deportivo is. We are aware that Deportivo has certain respect for us and they won’t underestimate us. We look forward to Wednesday’s night and feel well prepared. Although it is difficult, our goal is obviously to go to the next round. We hope to win on Wednesday and that we will have the usual great support from the spectators.?

List of called players (18): Karim Zaza, Kenneth Stenild (goalkeepers); Michael Jakobsen, Michael Beauchamp, Kjetil W?hler, B?gelund Kasper, Lasse Nielsen (defenders); Anders Due, Andreas Johansson, Thomas Augustinus, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Ca?a, Kasper Risg??rd, Thomas Enevoldsen, Patrick Kristensen (midfielders); Luton Shelton, Jeppe Curth and Marcus Tracy (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Aalborg: Zaza - Bogelund, Jakobsen, Beauchamp, W?hler – Augustinussen, Risg??rd - Due, Johansson, Enevoldsen – Curth.
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Piscu, Lopo or Colotto, Z? Castro, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Antonio Tom??s, Verd?? or Juan Rodr?guez - Lafita, Valer??n – Mista.
Referee: Nikolay Ivanov (Russia).
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Energi Nord Arena)

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/09

ZAPPING

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