Football: Norwich refuse to adopt inferiority complex

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The Independent Online
AS MUCH as one can be facing the might of Bayern Munich, three times European Cup winners, on their own patch where no British side have triumphed before, Norwich City are confident about tonight's Uefa Cup second round first leg in the imposing Olympic Stadium.

Confident of what, is the question. Those still to be switched on to the splendid entertainment that comes dressed in yellow-and-green this season would suggest, cynically, that their priority should be in keeping the score down. Mike Walker, their manager, naturally takes a different view, and what is the biggest game of his managerial career so far was not causing him undue alarm yesterday. It was more a case of 'bring them on, 10 internationals and all'.

The Canaries are up with the clouds now, the belief they took from disposing so comfortably of Vitesse Arnhem in the first round conveying itself to the Premiership, where they have risen to become Manchester United's closest challengers.

'We have made one or two people sit up already and we will be looking to add to them by removing Bayern,' Walker said. 'It does not worry me that no British side has won here. There's always a first, and we have gone beyond that stage when we should feel daunted either by the opposition or the setting.'

After a shaky start, a hangover from last season when they led the Bundesliga for all bar the final week, Bayern are back to their pre-eminence, scoring 11 times in the three fixtures since the draw was made.

Lothar Matthaus, their top man, is now employed in a sweeper position, though this weekend Germany's World Cup-winning captain has been distracted by matters off the field, thanks to a well-publicised and unseemly altercation with a Dutch tourist at Munich's Oktoberfest beer festival.

Superstars of his kind have no place in the Norwich set-up. He would have been sold long before. Their faith is in the team ethic, and splendidly it is serving them, too. With the focus remaining on the international scene, Walker has added his voice to those who say England should copy the Germans and promote our national managers through from the lower levels. 'It would be great if someone like Ray Wilkins or Glenn Hoddle coached our Under-18 side,' he said.

He himself proves the value of continuity, having worked his time with Norwich reserves. If his team, who are hopeful that Efan Ekoku and John Polston can shake off knocks to be fit, were to put out Bayern, then his would be a name the Football Association would have to add to its list of possible successors to Graham Taylor.

Bayern Munich (probable): Aumann; Matthaus, Jorginho, Kreuzer, Helmer, Wouters, Nerlinger, Stenkopf, Ziege, Witeczek, Scholl.

Norwich City (probable): Gunn; Culverhouse, Polston, Butterworth, Newman, Bowen, Fox, Crook, Goss, Sutton, Ekoku.

(Photograph omitted)