Otelul Galati coach Dorinel Munteanu will hope to recapture a moment from his youth tonight when his team welcomes Group C rivals SL Benfica at Bucharest’s new National Arena.
As a 23-year-old FC Dinamo Bucharest midfielder Munteanu, in his first taste of UEFA club competition, helped his team get the better of Benfica’s city rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup first round.
The Romanian champions are looking to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat at FC Basel 1893 on matchday one, when Benfica earned a 1-1 draw against Manchester United FC in Lisbon.
Dorinel Munteanu, Otelul Galati coach: “I have very pleasant and nice feelings when playing against Portuguese teams because I obtained good results both with the club (Dinamo Bucharest – editor’s note) and with the national team. Each game is important and this is a Champions League game in which 3 points are up for grabs. There is a lot of pressure on us because we face a very powerful team, a team with tradition. I trust my players and I’ll get over the emotions and I’ll make sure we’ll play well and we’ll enjoy the final result.”
Jorge Jesus, Benfica Lisbon coach: “Otelul Galati has a very strong, tight-nit team, it has several very good individual players, and here I’m talking about Antal whom I can compare to Poborsky. It’s not difficult to keep my players motivated because all group games are important and the teams that are in the group made it here on the basis of their merit and value. Although Otelul is considered an underdog, Tuesday’s game will be difficult. In my opinion, any of the group teams can qualify for the next stage.”