Bayern travel to Israel without Iranian striker
14 September 2004 , LONDON - Former winners Bayern Munich travel to Israel for their opening Champions League fixture against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday with only one fully-fit internationally experienced striker after Iranian forward Vahid Hashemian withdrew from the squad late on Monday. Bayern coach Felix Magath said that Hashemians injury, picked up in a league match on the weekend, was worse than initially expected and prevented the 28-year-old from travelling. However, earlier an official for the
14 September 2004
LONDON - Former winners Bayern Munich travel to Israel for their opening Champions League fixture against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday with only one fully-fit internationally experienced striker after Iranian forward Vahid Hashemian withdrew from the squad late on Monday.
Bayern coach Felix Magath said that Hashemians injury, picked up in a league match on the weekend, was worse than initially expected and prevented the 28-year-old from travelling.
However, earlier an official for the Iranian sports federation had said that Iranian citizens were not permitted to travel to Israel under any circumstances.
This leaves Magath with only one fully-fit striker in Roy Makaay, while Roque Santa Cruz, who is still nursing an injury, will also travel to Tel Aviv for the Group C clash, but it is doubtful whether he can play.
The other group game sees Zlatan Ibrahimovic return to the Amsterdam Arena a few weeks after having transferred to Juventus. The Swedish international scored once on his Serie A debut on the weekend and is now looking to continuing that run in the Champions League.
Ajax will be without Tomas Galasek and John O'Brien, but welcome back Tom Soetaers and Nicolas Mitea.
In Group A last years finalists, Monaco, take on Liverpool. The French side are off to a solid start this season in the league despite losing several key players.
They have brought in Argentine striker Javier Saviola from Barcelona on loan and the Olympic champion marked his debut on Saturday with a goal in the 3-1 home win over Strasbourg.
Didier Deschamps continues to impress as a young coach as he looks ahead to Wednesday's tie against Liverpool at Anfield.
"To win on Saturday is great for the confidence of the team and we can now look forward to the Champions League with optimism," said the 1998 World Cup winner.
The other two teams in the group, Deportivo and Olympiakos, clash in Spain. As the Greek side has yet to play a league match this weekend and is missing Predrag Djordjevic, Christos Patsatzoglou and Milos Maric, who are all ruled out through injury, Deportivo go into the match as favourites.
The clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Real Madrid in Group B is a replay of the 2002 final, which the German side unluckily lost. Both sides have lost important players through injury, with German defender Jens Nowotny out for Leverkusen, while new signings Jonathan Woodgate (thigh) and Walter Samuel (knee sprain) are Madrid coach José Antonio Camacho's injured players.
Former Germany coach Rudi Voeller has his second game in charge of his former club Roma, when they take on Dynamo Kiev in the other Group B match. The Italians will be without the injured Cristian Chivu, Damiano Tommasi and Ahmed Hossam 'Mido', and could also lose Greek international defender Traianos Dellas, who picked up an injury in the league opener on the weekend.
Kiev are also not without worries and travel to Italy without playmaker Valentin Belkevich and Rodolfo.
In Group C, struggling English giants Manchester United will attempt to bring their season back to life in Lyon. The former Champions League winners are well off the pace in England and face an opponent unbeaten in the French domestic league.
The running three-time French champions have come out of the blocks much faster than in previous seasons and scored an impressive 2-1 win at Rennes on Saturday, a venue where they were beaten 3-1 last season.
Former Arsenal striker Sylvain Wiltord came off the bench to make his debut for the club, while 20-year-old Brazilian substitute Nilmar made a spectacular impact scoring twice in six minutes.
"It is a great fixture to be playing Manchester United but we can't stand around and watch them play. If we do they will tear us to pieces," said Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas who is a big fan of Europe's top competition.
In Istanbul, Turkish champions Fenerbahce take on Sparta Prague. Both sides rested key players in their league matches on the weekend for a Champions League game both sides will be eager to win to give themselves a chance of finishing in the top two in their group.
Subject: German news