Injury-hit Dortmund full of confidence

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The Independent Online
Borussia Dortmund, who are already virtually assured a place in the European Cup quarter-finals, will be severely below strength at home to Atletico Madrid tonight. Seven players are injured and cannot play, and two more, Jurgen Kohler and Jorg Heinrich, are suspended.

However, Dortmund's confidence is high after winning in Madrid two weeks ago and beating Arminia Bielefeld 5-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Dortmund, who lead Group B with the maximum nine points, will give the Norwegian Steinar Peddersen his Champions' League debut after losing their defender Martin Kree with a thigh muscle strain.

This still leaves Ottmar Hitzfeld, the Dortmund trainer, with defensive problems. Kohler misses the match for receiving two yellow cards, while Matthias Sammer and the Austrian international Wolfgang Feiersinger are among the injured.

Atletico hope to have their playmaker Jose Luis Caminero fit again after a month. "We will do some tests in the Borussia stadium before making a decision." Radomir Antic, the Atletico coach, said.

Atletico have struggled in Caminero's absence, although the Spanish champions ended a run of three defeats with a 1-0 victory away to Sporting Gijon on Saturday. "This victory strengthened our morale, although we know we're going to have a hard time in Dortmund," Kiko Narvaez, the Atletico striker, said.

Antic restated his belief that his team were better than Dortmund, despite having lost 1-0 against the Germans and looking fragile in the Spanish league.

The defender Toni Munoz will have a late fitness test before the game because of a muscle strain, but is expected to play. Antic brings back the Czech midfielder Radek Bejbl, who was dropped for Atletico's last league game, to replace the Argentine midfielder Diego Simeone, who is suspended. Four headed goals make Simeone Atletico's leading scorer in the Champions' League, and they may miss him badly.

In Group A, Grasshopper Zurich can all but secure a place in the quarter- finals with a victory over Auxerre. Ajax, Grasshopper and Auxerre all have six points, and Rangers none, with Ajax leading the roup on goal difference.

Playing at home, where they have only lost once this season, Grasshopper will be out to avenge a 1-0 defeat by the French champions two weeks ago. Grasshopper have won their last three league games in convincing fashion, scoring 13 goals in the process. Auxerre come into the match fresh from a 7-0 thrashing of Lyon.

Grasshopper may be without one of their top defenders, Murat Yakin, who aggravated a knee injury in Saturday's league game. They will also be missing Alain Geiger, Switzerland's most capped international, who has a groin injury.