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Aris quietly confident of place in next round

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Aris quietly confident of place in next round

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:35 am


Aris Thessalonica are approaching Wednesday’s UEFA Cup Group F showdown in respectful but confident mood, coach Dusan Bajevic insisted at a pre-match news conference in Munich. “We’re up against a great team, one of the biggest clubs in the world. But let me assure you we’re not afraid, and we’re not about to panic. We’ll be totally committed,” the coach declared ahead of his side’s Tuesday evening training session at the Allianz Arena. The Greeks require a point to be certain of a place in the knockout round.

The club based in the country’s second city is one of the biggest and most popular in Greece, and also boasts a truly multi-cultural squad featuring players of eight nationalities. Half the squad is Greek, while the three-times domestic champions also employ five Spaniards, although the number of Iberians was reduced by one with the dismissal of previous coach Carlos Oliva just one game into the season.

<b>Aris claim shock win over Saragossa</b>

New boss Bajevic ranks as the most successful club coach in the history of Greek football. The Serb has led AEK Athens, Olympiakos Piraeus and PAOK Salonika to a total of nine league titles, and has now begun working his magic with Aris, who overcame favourites Real Saragossa in the UEFA Cup elimination round on away goals after a 1-0 win at home and a 2-1 away defeat. The Greeks opened their group campaign with a 3-0 triumph against Red Star Belgrade, before successive 1-1 draws with Bolton Wanderers and Braga.

“We’ll do what we have to do to qualify for the next round,” Bajevic announced. Observers believe Aris will begin defensively with a lone striker, former Olympique Marseille and Sporting Lisbon hitman Koke. The Spaniard rates as the star of the team, alongside Greece international keeper Konstantinos Chalkias.

<b>Calvo rated doubtful</b>

The most experienced player in terms of European appearances is playmaker Vladimir Ivic, although the veteran Serb is likely to start on the bench. Right winger Calvo is rated doubtful with injury, but regardless of the final line-up, Bajevic believes his team are fired up and ready to tackle the challenge posed by Munich: “I don’t need to say very much to my players. They all know what they have to do.“

The Greeks are guaranteed noisy support from an army of travelling fans. The club sold 3,200 tickets at home, with their ranks set to be swollen by an estimated 3,000 members of the Greek community in Germany. “It’s a very important match for Aris. We’ll give it our best shot, with our fans right behind us,“ Bajevic remarked.
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