Intertoto Cup Preview: Aston Villa V FC Zurich
Villa have a mountain to climb (Allsport)
07/26/2002. Aston Villa have a mountain to climb if they are to bypass FC Zurich and move a step closer to the UEFA Cup. The Swiss outfit won 2-0 at home in the first leg meaning that an away goal on Saturday will leave Villa requiring four to qualify.
The Premiership team successfully qualified from the InterToto Cup last season but if they are to do the same this year they will have to improve dramatically on their first leg display when they looked like a team who had just return from their summer holidays.
Three of Villa's World Cup stars look set to return having been rested for the first leg. Swede's Olof Mellberg and Marcus Allback and Republic of Ireland's Steve Staunton are all expected to be handed starting roles at the expense of Dion Dublin, Steve Stone and Jay Lloyd Samuel, who was sent off in the first leg.
Allback should partner Peter Crouch in attack as Juan Pablo Angel and Darius Vassell are still not in contention while recent signing from Grimsby Michael Boulding is expected to move into midfield. Turkish defender Alpay is also missing.
FC Zurich have already played three matches in their league this season and having won two of them comfortably are the fresher, more confident team.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINE-UPS
Aston Villa: Enckelman; Delaney, Staunton, Mellberg, Wright; Boateng, Hitzlsperger, Barry, Boulding; Crouch, Allback.
FC Zurich: Konig: Nef, Keller, Taroni, Yasar, Kanga, Quentin, Pallas, Fischer, Hellinga, Keita.