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Monday, September 29, 2008


Fenerbahce coach Luis Aragones is not worried that his side's poor league form will affect their Champions League hopes.

The Istanbul side host Dynamo Kiev in Group G on Tuesday night and will be hoping to continue their impressive home record in Europe and kick-start a season which has so far been very disappointing.

Having made the worst start to a campaign in 20 years, Fenerbahce are eighth in the table and suffered a further setback on Friday when they lost 2-1 to Sivasspor.

However, Aragones is not concerned and has every faith his team will improve.

"I don't think losing points in Turkey will affect my players as I believe the Champions League is a completely different motivation," he said.

"Despite taking the lead in the first half, we were not able to stop Sivasspor from scoring twice. Of course, this was not the impressive start we had wanted. We still need time to perform at our best, but our time will come."

The Turks boast a fearful record at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, having won every match there in last season's Champions League en route to their quarter-final exit at the hands of Chelsea, and are unbeaten in 14 games stretching back to November 2004.

They come up against a Dynamo side with a wretched record.

Yuri Semin's men have drawn one and lost seven of their last eight group-stage games, scoring two goals and conceding 18, although they held Arsenal to a 1-1 draw in the opening fixture earlier this month and go into the game off the back of a 3-0 defeat of Kryvbas which sent them joint top of the Ukrainian Superliga.

Fenerbahce have been reduced to the bare bones by injuries and woefully underperformed in their last Champions League fixture, a 3-1 defeat to Porto, to prop up the Group G table.

Star striker Semih Senturk remains a major doubt, as do newcomer Juan Pablo Josico, winger Gokcek Vederson and defender Edu Dracena.

Captain Alex De Souza, the heartbeat of the Fener team, is also on the injury list, but forward Daniel Guiza has a chance of recovering in time to make the bench on Tuesday.

Dynamo coach SemiH is likely to stick with the same players who impressed at home against Arsenal two weeks ago.

He said after that game: "If I was told before the game that we would have a draw, I would have been very pleased.

"This is a good start in the Champions League and the team did well, so overall I am satisfied."

Midfielder Roman Eremenko was particularly impressive, as was Ismael Bangoura, who caused the Gunners defence problems all night and scored the opener from the penalty spot.

Playmaker Oleksandr Aliyev was also heavily influential and scored twice in Friday's resounding league win.

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