Forest determined to stifle Klinsmann

Glenn Moore on the prospects for tonight's Uefa Cup quarter-final
Click to follow
The Independent Online
One goal, that is all Nottingham Forest require against Bayern Munich at the City Ground tonight, but goals do not come easily to Frank Clark's men.

They have managed just five in seven Uefa Cup ties, the latest being Steve Chettle's header in the 2-1 first-leg defeat in Munich a fortnight ago.

That away goal has put Forest a 1-0 win away from being the first English team to make the Uefa Cup's last four in a dozen years. Not since Forest themselves, and eventual winners Tottenham (remember Tony Parks' penalty heroics in the final), made the 1984 semi-finals has an English club progressed as far. Once the property of England, with nine wins in 14 years, it has become an Italian fiefdom.

While Forest were held at Middlesbrough at the weekend, Bayern briefly went top of the Bundesliga by beating Kaiserslauten (Borussia Dortmund have since displaced them). However, all is not well. Mehmet Scholl, the most influential player in the first leg, was dismissed on Saturday and there are continued reports of disaffection in the ranks - not that Clark was making anything of them.

"We have been hearing that from day one," the Forest manager said. "It does not seem to have done them any harm. You get personality clashes in any dressing-room."

Clark speaks from experience. Stan Collymore was a man apart from his team-mates and manager during Forest's final 13 matches last season, yet they won nine and drew the other four.

"They are going to give us a tremendous test," Clark added. "I have always thought we are capable of getting past them, but only our best form will do it."

Forest will have Colin Cooper back from suspension and with Des Lyttle restored to the right-back position, their regular European defensive unit (two goals conceded in six games) will be in place. They are aware that Bayern are strong on the counter-attack - they scored five away to Lokomotiv Moscow in a previous round, after losing the first leg.

Jurgen Klinsmann, who scored twice that night and in the first leg against Forest, has now scored 12 goals in the competition. Although he will be without his injured partner, Alexander Zickler, he remains the main threat.

"The difference between Bayern and the French teams we played [Auxerre and Lyon] is that they are capable of scoring goals out of nothing, especially Klinsmann. That is why we cannot throw ourselves at them looking for the quick goal," Steve Stone said.

Even if Forest stop Klinsmann, they still have to get that goal. No Forest player has managed double figures this season and their top scorer and most inspirational forward, Bryan Roy, is struggling with a thigh injury. Jason Lee, who has not started a game this year, stands by.

Stone and Ian Woan, who both missed the Middlesbrough match through injury, should return, but Forest will be without the suspended Scot Gemmill in midfield. David Phillips is likely to deputise if fit.

"Not too many people are giving us a chance," Cooper said, "but the same people thought we would get beaten in every round so far."

Forest's preparation has not been helped by unfounded speculation linking Clark to the England post. While he would be a reasonable choice, it is not one the Football Association have made and Clark himself appeared angered, rather than flattered, by the report.

"I have not had any contact with any representatives of the FA," he said. "It is embarrassing to me at a time when all our efforts should be focused."

All the same, should Forest gain a tactical and actual victory tonight, the prospect of Clark succeeding Terry Venables would harden from unlikely to intriguing. However, while Bayern are not the stuff of Bavarian legend, neither are Forest, and neither Clark, nor his team, are likely to progress in the immediate future.

Comments