Realistic Bordeaux relishing Fiorentina challenge

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Bordeaux are determined to enjoy the experience of playing against Fiorentina in Manchester United's Champions' League group tonight. "The guys are just looking for fun and for a good match," said the coach Elie Baup. "Even if we lose I'm sure we will learn something."

Bordeaux are determined to enjoy the experience of playing against Fiorentina in Manchester United's Champions' League group tonight. "The guys are just looking for fun and for a good match," said the coach Elie Baup. "Even if we lose I'm sure we will learn something."

The French champions are well aware they face a daunting task against Fiorentina who beat United 2-0 in their opening second round game. Bordeaux lost their opening game 3-0 away to Valencia. "Obviously, this match looks like a final for us," said the midfielder Herve Alicarte. "We need a win to keep our hopes alive in the competition."

Bordeaux's goalkeeper Ullrich Ramé said: "We must be realistic. We have very little chance of winning the European Cup so we will go out there without any pressure and without any fear. It always does us good to face stronger sides and a win would be fantastic."

Bordeaux will be without the playmaker Stephane Ziani who has a shoulder injury. He has been replaced by the midfielder Corentin Martins.

Giovanni Trapattoni, the Fiorentina coach, will be without his leading striker Gabriel Batistuta, scorer of the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Milan, the Italian champions, on Sunday as he is suspended. His fellow Argentinian Abel Balbo and Enrico Chiesa, the Italian international, will start up front. Sandro Cois, the midfielder, is also suspended and will be replaced by Fabio Rossitto.

Barcelona play Sparta Prague at the Nou Camp in Group A tonight in much better spirits than they were a week ago. A narrow 3-2 league win at home to Oviedo on Saturday went some way to restoring the team's battered pride following their woeful run of four consecutive league defeats.

After the farcical opening match of the second phase of the Champions' League, the 1-1 draw with Hertha in a fog-bound Berlin, Louis van Gaal, the Barcelona coach, will demand victory against a Sparta side whose 2-0 home defeat by Porto seemed to confirm them as the weakest team in the group. Sparta look ill-prepared to resist unbeaten Barcelona's prolific strike force which has hit 20 goals, almost three a match, in the competition up to now.

But Sparta's chance will lie in the frailties of Barcelona's defence, which has leaked 21 goals in the Spanish League this season at an average of a goal and a half a game. "Although we've never been known for our great defending, we've got to do better and stop conceding so many goals," said Francesc Arnau, the Barca goalkeeper, who is expected to play in preference to the Dutchman Ruud Hesp.

The Spanish international defender Abelardo Fernandez is injured but Winston Bogarde, the Dutch defender, is available again. However, Van Gaal may prefer to start with the recently converted Dutch winger Boudewijn Zenden in defence.

Ivan Hasek, Sparta's coach, rested several key players on Saturday when they beat lowly Viktoria Zizkov 3-2 during which their playmaker Tomas Rosicky made an appearance to prove he has recovered from a sore throat. The striker Libor Sionko is also likely to return after an ankle injury.

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