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Railwaymen hit buffers

Cluj in poor form ahead of ‘biggest game’

Following the draw for the Champions League group stage, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was looking forward to renewing acquaintances with an old friend. In August, Andrea Mandorlini was still coach at Romanian double winners CFR Cluj. In the mid-1980s, the FCB chairman played alongside Mandorlini for Inter, but a certain Mr Arpad Paszkany made sure there would be no reunion.

The 40-year-old self-made millionaire has owned Romania’s oldest club – it was founded by railway workers back in 1907 - for the last eight years. The man dubbed King of Cluj by kicker magazine spent some of his fortune on taking CFR from the depths of the second division to the top of the country’s footballing ladder. Paszkany’s investment has brought a total of seven trophies, including the domestic double in 2008 and 2010.

Cartu steps in

The first man to lead Cluj to the league title was Ioan Andone, but after a poor start to the following season, he was out of a job even before the club’s maiden appearance in the Champions League. The same fate has now befallen Rummenigge’s former team-mate Mandorlini. A string of dismal results in the league prompted Paszkany to dismiss the Italian two days before Cluj faced Basel in their European opener. His place was taken by 54-year-old Sorin Cartu, the sixth head coach at Cluj in the last three years.