Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 28
By Emin Aliyev – Trend:
Azerbaijan’s Qabala FC will play German club Mainz 05 in the UEFA Europa League Group C on Sept. 29. The game will be held in Baku, at the 8KM Stadium.
In the group standings Qabala now ranks fourth with no points, while Mainz is on the second place with one point, rendering a victory in the Sept. 29 game crucial for both clubs.
On the eve of the game, Mainz head coach Martin Schmidt spoke to Trend regarding the Group C, Mainz’s rivals and the chances of Azerbaijan’s Qabala.
- What can you say about your rivals in the Group C, especially about Qabala?
- We have been allotted a very exciting group. St. Etienne and RSC Anderlecht are both pretty big names with a lot of history, clubs that I have watched when I was a young boy. And Qabala has definitely made a name for themselves as well with their successes in their home league and some very good matches in the European League. We are very excited for the upcoming match!
- Have you watched Qabala’s games? How do you assess their chances in the group and do you see them as a strong rival?
- Of course we have informed ourselves about our opponent and watched the matches of Qabala. We were watching them in the stadium in Anderlecht and have followed their path in the Azerbaijan league. In the qualification round of the UEFA Europa League, they managed to kick off OSC Lille with a great performance, and they were holding up well against Anderlecht too. In their league matches in Azerbaijan, they often play with a ball possession ratio of 80 percent and dominate the matches. In the UEFA Europa League they are a robust and compact opponent who has a great defense and fast offensive players for quick counter attacks.
- How do you assess Mainz’s chances in the Group C?
- This group is generally relatively evenly-matched. So it is anybody’s game really. Of course we want to progress to the next round too, but we know we need to work very hard to achieve this.
Follow the author on Twitter: @emaliyev