Partizan is home to FC Koln on Thursday (6.45pm CET kick-off) as part of UEFA Europa Conference League round 4 group stage fixtures. After winning Koln away last time around, Partizan tops the group with five points won, narrowing OGC Nice on goal-difference (more goals scored). FC Koln is third-placed with four points while Slovacko is bottom of the group with one point won. In other group D fixture, OGC Nice hosts Slovacko.
Ljubomir Fejsa is doubtful. Kristijan Belic is back after serving two-game suspension.
Partizan boss Gordan Petric ahead of Koln home encounter:
-This is the first “match point”. A win or a draw would get us closet to knockout stage although I don`t want to burden my team with tomorrow`s outcome but we want to fully charge forward.
In Cologne, we assessed game with two forwards would get us a result and it did. We didn`t opt for more defensive play but the early goal we scored forced us back as well as allowing us to play counter-attacking game. We were under a lot of pressure from Koln, especially via flank crosses and maybe it`s time for a slightly different game style tomorrow.
Our roster is such that we have to play attacking football but we need to do certain bits better. Koln plays the same, winning or losing. We managed to work out problems in Cologne and now it`s on us to neutralize their qualities as well as to try and use what are capable of to the full. It`s important players know they did the best they could. I pressure them as little as possible.
Koln beat Dortmund, only to lose to Partizan and Monchengladbach. Mood in their dressing room must be different now. On the other hand, people expect more from us after the Cologne win but we need to fix certain things if we want to get positive outcome. Our players have quality but they need to prove it once again. They play for themselves and for their families, I`m sure they`ll do their best.
Centre-back Igor Vujacic on upcoming game:
-Koln has good individual players down both flanks, they cross early and trouble us with two forwards and third one joining in the attack. We need to have a better block to deal with those crosses.
Their forwards are physically dominant and we have to be cautious all the way as Koln is a real danger when it comes to set-pieces as well. I cannot guarantee a clean sheet but we`ll do our best to keep it.
I expect physically demanding game. Koln rested a few players last time around and I`m sure they`ll be attacking us even more tomorrow. We need to be focused and get close to another great result with the help of our fans who I hope will recognize how much we need support now.
PHOTO GALLERY: MIROSLAV TODOROVIC
PHOTO GALLERY: SANDIC PHOTOGRAPHY