Cluj v Galatasaray preview

Gabriel Muresan believes Wednesday's clash with Galatasaray holds the key to CFR Cluj's UEFA Champions League ambitions.

Last Updated: 07/11/12 at 10:59

Gabriel Muresan: Confident Cluj can progress to the last 16

Gabriel Muresan: Confident Cluj can progress to the last 16

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The Romanian side surprisingly sit second in Group H after securing a 2-0 win at Braga and a 1-1 draw at Galatasaray.

Cluj lost 2-1 to Manchester United in their only other match at Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu, but are confident of getting back to winning ways at home to the Turkish champions on Matchday Four.

Gala lie bottom of the group with just one point from three matches and have not won on their travels in the competition proper since September 2002 - a record Muresan believes Cluj can extend and edge one step closer to the knockout stage.

"It's a very important game for us," he said. "It will decide if we progress from the group. Progressing in Europe would salvage our season but we have not given up on the [Romanian] title just yet.

"In such a game the financial incentive is not important. The prospect of progressing from the group is a reward in itself. I think we are favourites, especially because we are playing at home.

"We must be a united group. Everything depends on us and how we approach the game."

The Galatasaray match will be coach Paulo Sergio's first game in the Champions League.

The Portuguese tactician led Hearts to the Scottish Cup last season and succeeded Ioan Andone at the helm after Matchday Three, with his side beating FC Brasov 5-0 at the weekend in what was his first game in charge.

Sergio has one injury concern to contend with ahead of his European bow, with it likely that he will be forced to tweak his starting XI as a result.

Rafael Bastos was forced off early on during the comprehensive victory over Brasov and Rui Pedro is on standby to step in if required.

Sergio will not have to deal with former Bolton striker Johan Elmander after the Galatasaray man was sidelined for at least six weeks with a right thigh tear. Brazil international midfielder Felipe Melo has also been ruled out.

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Champions League Fixtures

Tuesday, 10 March 2015
19:45
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R Madrid v Schalke  
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Bay Munich v Shak Donetsk  
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Tuesday, 17 March 2015
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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
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B Dortmund v Juventus  

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