Feyenoord were rolled over by Sturm Graz at the same stage two years ago; a case of sloppy preparation in the eyes of Van Marwijk. ‘I do think however that we are a lot stronger and more confidence compared to two years ago.’
That said, preseason this time round was not exactly optimal. Injuries to key personnel meant that the coach was unable to try out anything new. So tonight’s team will look very familiar formation-wise. Chris Gyan starts at right-back, with Tomasz Rzasa back at left-back instead of Ramon van Haaren. ‘Ramon played well during preseason,’ Van Marwijk explained, ‘but all the effort he has put in have caught up with him somewhat. That’s why I’m not prepared to start with him.’
Rzasa’s partner on the left is Anthony Lurling, who was actually contracted to fill in the hole behind the frontman left by Jon Dahl Tomasson. ‘I have to get used to things and I’ll do that quicker in my old position. I’m most at home there after all,’ Lurling clarified. Consequently, Bonaventure Kalou plays in the middle, alongside Shinji Ono, Paul Bosvelt and Brett Emerton.
Fenerbahçe have their fair share of pressure too, after investing millions of dollars in a summer spending spree. German coach Werner Lorant snapped up two stylish South Americans in Argentina’s Ariel Ortega and the Brazilian Washington.
The injection of class has turned Fenerbahçe into a solid attacking machine. ‘Their strengths lie in attack. They are free scoring. They don’t really have any weak points, although defence is not a strong point. Hopefully we can take advantage of that, although it won’t be easy.‘
Zoetebier; Gyan, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Rzasa; Emerton, Bosvelt, Ono, Lurling; Kalou, Van Hooijdonk
Rüstü; Fatih, Ümit, Mirkovic, Ogün, Abdullah;Johnson; Ortega, Revivo; Serhat en Washington.