presented by
Respect but no fear

Laudrup: Bayern are favourites for the trophy

Despite a sobering 2-0 reverse against Osasuna in La Liga last weekend, the attitude in the Getafe camp ahead of the UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg in Munich on Thursday is one of respect but no fear, players and officials of the Spanish top flight club declared confidently after arriving in the Bavarian capital on Wednesday.

“We’ve beaten Real Madrid and Barcelona. We’ll try and take a decent result from Munich, and then seal a berth in the next round at home,” defender Mario remarked. Pedro Castro, mayor of the town of 160,000 in the southern suburbs of Madrid, predicted a 2-1 win for Getafe. “Bayern have been a bit unlucky. They’ve been drawn against one of Europe’s greatest teams.“

Aiming for three trophies

Azulones (Dark Blues) coach Michael Laudrup was slightly less forthright. “Bayern are undoubtedly one of the best teams in Europe. They’ve always been my favourites to win the trophy,” the former Real Madrid and Barcelona star commented. However, he was “very confident” of springing a surprise over two legs, “although we’re obviously aware of Bayern’s quality.“

“We’re comfortable with the underdogs’ role,“ Laudrup continued, pointing to the confidence-boosting wins against Barca and Real. Getafe, just 25 years into their existence as a club and the only Spanish team still in the hunt for three trophies, contest their second domestic Cup final in a row two weeks from now.

Consistent scorers

“I’m very pleased with what we’ve achieved as a team up to now,” the Dane declared, praising a squad largely comprising international unknowns with the exception of Argentine keeper Roberto Abbondanzieri and playmaker Rubén de la Red. “It’s a terrific phase for us, we have important, decisive matches every three days,” a visibly proud Laudrup said.

The next important encounter comes on Thursday at the Allianz Arena, where a knot of 700 travelling fans will back the visitors. “Bayern will go for a good result at home, but they’ll want to stop us scoring. That’ll be hard for them, because we’ve scored in every game in this competition so far,” the coach pointed out.

Injuries hit back four

The man regarded as one of Denmark’s all-time great players has few injury worries, but the selection question-marks are concentrated over defenders. Left-back Lucas Licht is suspended, centre-half Cata Diaz out with injury, and captain Belenguer faces a fitness test at Getafe’s final training session. In the worst case scenario, Laudrup would be without three of his regular back four.

That would rate as a blow against a Munich side which has found goals easy to come by in Europe this term. “Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski are all top quality strikers,” Laudrup acknowledged. “The whole team is classy, starting with Oliver Kahn in goal, then Lahm and other household-name players. The one I like the most is the Frenchman, Franck Ribéry,” Laudrup respectfully observed.