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Big names missing as Trotters focus on league

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Big names missing as Trotters focus on league

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Nov 08, 2007 1:33 am

07.11.2007

Nicolas Anelka is not necessarily the most welcome guest in Munich. Back in May 2000, the France striker’s two goals for Real Madrid were largely responsible for Bayern’s Champions League exit at the semi-final stage. Anelka netted in Real’s 2-0 first leg success and again in their 2-1 defeat in Bavaria, sealing his reputation as a destroyer of dreams.

After appearing for seven further clubs across the continent, Anelka (pictured) now wears a Bolton Wanderers jersey, but he will not be landing another blow to Bavarian pride this week, as the 28-year-old is out of Thursday’s UEFA Cup group encounter with a pulled hamstring.

<b>Star absentees</b>

Despite the setback, the Trotters are confident heading into the match. “I’m impressed with what I’ve seen of Bayern on video. They have a fantastic team and some fantastic players, but we’ve not come here to dig in for a 0-0 draw,” coach Gary Megson told a pre-match news conference. “It definitely won’t be easy, because Bayern have the class for the Champions League. But we’ll do our best,” promised defender Andrew O’Brien.

Anelka is not Bolton’s only star absentee. Nicky Hunt misses the match after dislocating a shoulder at the weekend, and Megson is unable to draw on former Real veteran Ivan Campo’s experience, because his predecessor in the managerial hot seat Sammy Lee chose not to nominate the midfielder for the UEFA Cup. “We’ll miss Ivan,” striker Kevin Davies conceded. Finally, an ankle problem means El Hadji Diouf has not made the squad for the meeting at the Allianz Arena.

<b>Up for the challenge</b>

“We’re missing a number of players, which doesn’t make it any easier. But running out at this stadium against a top team like Bayern is the stuff you dream about as a kid,” Megson observed. “The match against Bayern and their world-class players is a fantastic challenge for us. We’re looking forward to it,” insisted club captain Kevin Nolan.

However, if the Trotters could choose between a win on Thursday or a win in their next league match, there appears to be no contest. “Sunday’s game against Middlesbrough is more important to us,” Nolan declared. Bolton are second from bottom of the Premier League, and their media director was obliged to request that the travelling UK reporters in Munich save questions about Middlesbrough until late on Thursday evening. “Even if we lose to Bayern, we can make progress in the UEFA Cup,” Megson reasoned.

<b>Already a winner in Munich</b>

However, Megson knows all about winning in Munich. He was a member of the Norwich City squad which visited the Olympic stadium on 19 October 1993 and ran up a 2-1 victory in the UEFA Cup second round. “That was probably the biggest result in Norwich’s European history, a tremendous experience,” Megson gleefully recalled, hoping for a repeat with his current club: “We have a chance.“
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