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A Quick Chat With A Otelul Galati Fan #1

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After getting a take on our Champions League group from the view of Benfica fan Ricardo SoaresI thought it would be good to chat to a Otelul Galati fan to see what their thoughts are ahead of the Champions League which is due to start next week.

Here’s what Daniel Marian – @danielbxl – had to say about the Galati reaction to the draw in a quick chat with us from earlier today:

Firstly what were your thoughts on the group draw and do you feel confident that Galati will show that they deserve to be in the competition this season?

You will know that is the first time for us playing in the Champions League, so for me it’s no problem who we play as whoever we would have got was going to be tough for us.

It will be an honour for us to play Manchester United, Benfica and Basel. For us it will be very difficult, because we have a young team but I am confident we can do ‘ok’ as we have a good manager and we have nothing to lose.

What does it mean for Galati to be drawn against Manchester United, who are the top-ranked side in Europe according to UEFA’s club coefficient over the last 5 seasons? 

In all honesty it is like a dream becoming true for us. As I told you this season will be the first time for us in the competition and I think for our players, they will be seeing it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to play against such a great team like United and it is such a big moment for them.

I really hope that we will put on a good showing for ourselves and don’t want us to lose 5/6-0 as it would put more pressure on us which we don’t need seeing as we’ve started badly in the league this season back in Romania.

What can United fans going to the game in Bucharest expect the atmosphere to be like at the National Stadium if they have not been before? What sets it apart from other stadiums across Europe?

The match as you’re know is scheduled to take place at the National Stadium, but you may not have known that there were some problems with the quality of the pitch during Romania’s Euro 2012 qualifier with France and UEFA are currently addressing whether the games will be taking place there or not.

If the games do take place there, it will be great as the stadium holds a capacity of around 55,000 people. The stadium as you may know is scheduled to hold this season’s Europa League final so for us it’s better to be playing in front of say 50,000 people rather than a small crowd of 15,000 which we would get at our home ground normally.

Are Galati fans disappointed in one respect that your home ground, the Stadionul Otelul will not be hosting games or are they pleased that the games are taking place in Romania’s newest stadium as surely it will mean the whole country will behind the team?

Galatai fans are slightly disappointed that we will not be hosting our games at our own ground, but whilst the pitch is in good condition, the ground is too small for the Champions League and it’s a good decision by UEFA to bring the games to Bucharest.

I know our stadium quite well having played there when I was 7 years old for one of Galati’s youth teams and I remember the pitch was like a carpet. I never thought that the team would be where they are today and even if we struggle I will still be supporting the team.

Who are your star players that United fans will need (as well as the team obviously) to keep an eye on over the two games?

How do I put it? There is no star player in our team. We have a small group of average hard-working players who have certainly worked hard over the last year to get to where we are today. We have alot of young players who are breaking into the national team and U21 side and although our manager wants to add more experienced players, they still need to improve more to become star-names.

Fans in England may remember your manager Dorinel Munteanu from his playing career for the Romanian national team and for his goal that he scored against England in Euro 2000. Since taking over in 2009, he’s enjoyed success for Galati. What do your fans think of him and what are his best qualities as a manager?

I am living in Brussels, Belgium but I was in Holland to see Galati playing against Anderlecht this summer. I can tell you Munteanu’s a good young manager.

Due to his successful playing career in the Bundesliga we call him ‘Neamtul’ which translates to ‘The German’ as he is very professional and gets the most out of his players, like German managers do so he has a good understanding of the European game.

He has a great relationship with our fans and is always happy to pose for photos, as he did with me in the summer.

Who would you say is your best young player at the club? Is there anyone at your club who you feel has the potential or quality one day to become a star name in the Premier League or even at Old Trafford? 

There are two young players who might be ‘special’ players to look out for in the future who will want to make a name for themselves in Europe this season for us. Liviu Antal, who is only 22 years old could grow into a decent midfielder for the national team. He has been at Galati since 2009 and is developing all the time. Marius Pena a forward looks to have talent, but it’s way too early for them to move on to a bigger club. 

How do you foresee the two games going between the sides and will you be going to either game?

I would like to go to the game at Old Trafford in November as will be a great occasion for our supporters and a great memory to look back on in years to come. I think if we work hard, we might be able to get a draw in Bucharest but the return game will be very hard for us so our best chance to pick up points against United is at home.

And finally can Galati make it through to the Last 16?

It looks like an impossible task for us to reach the knockout stages, but if we can take points of Basel and Benfica, we might have a chance to finish as runners-up. I would like us to finish third but even if we end up finishing bottom, it will not take the gloss of what will have been an historic six games for our club. Who knows we might win a game or two – that would be great!

Thanks For That Daniel!

By @ADennehey87

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