Partizan is home to DAC Dunajska Streda on Thursday (9pm CET kick-off) as part of Conference League round 2 first-leg fixtures.
Slovakian league runners-up last season, Dunajska Streda participated in European competitions 6 times so far. Last season they were eliminated by Austrians LASK in a one-legged round 3 of Europa League qualifiers. This club founded by Hungarian ex-patriots recently signed Latvian international and former Schalke 04 player Andrejs Ciganiks.
This is a third Partizan European meeting with teams from Slovakia. Previously, Partizan famously lost to Artmedia on penalties in 2005 to miss out on third Champions League group stage appearance but won Zilina four years later in a UEFA Europa League qualifiers.
Ivan Obradovic is still nursing his injury sustained during pre-season.
Partizan pre-match press-conference was attended by Head Coach Aleksandar Stanojevic and goalkeeper and team skipper Vladimir Stojkovic.
“We are happy and excited to play home in front of our fans after year and a half of empty stands. Last weekend, we were quite emotional for the same reason, seeing our fans return to the stands. We cannot wait for the game to kick-off”
“Lifting of the away goal rule will make it easier for home teams. It`s a good thing and for the better of the football game. You`ll be able to play more open-minded game and take more risks as a home side”
“Slovakian football is on the rise and Dunajska Streda is packed with foreign players. Their coach is from Hungary and he prefers 3-5-2 formation. They changed their system during pre-season and they remind me of Hungarian national team. Dunajska Streda also signed two players who fit into their system. They come forward in numbers and I think there`ll be no surprises regarding their game. We are ready for this game and we know where the threat comes from. We are cautious but we have faith in our abilities. We played well so far, pre-season and opening domestic league game, so we are confident ahead of this match”.
“I don`t want to reveal our starting line-up but there will be minimal changes, if any. This is a two-legged tie and we have a strategy for any outcome during the game. We have players who showed they are at their top form at the moment. But, it`s hard to expect us to show such energy we showed last weekend from the go. It`s hard to have such constant level but we work on it and that adds to our confidence”.
“We have our style of play and we just keep working on it. Every team wants to impose its style and we are not going to modify it for Dunajska Streda alone. They play 3-5-2 and we`ll try to seize on their weaknesses”.
“Most importantly, football looks like football with fans back on the stands. I hope our supporters will push us forward tomorrow”.
“I watched Dunajska Streda play Ujpest in a friendly and I saw one serious outfit with winning mentality. Despite conceding, they kept playing aggressively. On the other hand, most of our team is here for the past 3 or 4 years. They all realize each upcoming game is the most important one and this one tomorrow is quite serious”.
PHOTO GALLERY: MIROSLAV TODOROVIC