Feyenoord anxious about their supporters
THE spectre of hooliganism hangs over Feyenoord's attempt to capture the one European trophy to elude them. The Dutch Cup holders, who won the Champions' Cup in 1970 and the UEFA Cup in 1974, take on Rapid Vienna in the first leg of the European Cup Winners' Cup semi final tonight.
Feyenoord supporters have already been barred from travelling to Vienna for the second leg in two weeks' time after trouble with Borussia Moenchengladbach fans in last month's quarter final.
And Feyenoord chairman Jorien van den Herik, who has asked UEFA to lift the ban, warned "A single firecracker could cause huge damage for this club."
Rapid, who are visiting Rotterdam for the first time since losing to Everton 3-1 there in the 1985 Cup Winners' Cup final, have proved to be the dark horses of the competition.
They scored a comprehensive 4-0 aggregate victory over Dynamo Moscow in the quarter final and Feyenoord coach Arie Haan, commented "Rapid are hard in duels, strong in the air and good in combinations, a typical example of the Austrian school. Austrians are more clever and frivolous than Germans and you see that in their play."
Haan has virtually a full strength squad available, with only defender Henk Fraser ruled out.
Rapid will be locking to former Cologne striker Carsten Jancker, who scored twice against Dynamo, to grab a crucial away goal. "Prvoslav Jovanovich returns in midfield for the Austrian side after missing the match in Moscow through suspension.
But Rapid coach Ernst Dukopil hardly seemed to be brimming with confidence as he arrived with his squad in Rotterdam. "Tension is running high," he said. "But I am a realist. And my realism tells me that we have advanced into realms where we do not belong, at least not yet."
In the other semi final, Paris St Germain's plans have been dealt a blow by the withdrawal of Brazilian midfielder Rai from as they prepare to meet Spain's Deportivo La Coruna. The influential Rai has sustained a thigh injury which could also rule him out of the second leg in two weeks' time.
By contrast, Deportivo's Brazilian striker Bebeto is firing on all cylinders. He scored a crucial goal in the quarter final victory over holders Real Zaragoza and is in no doubt that Deportivo, playing in their first European semifinal, can keep the trophy in Spain.
"We're going to win the Cup," was the simple message from Bebeto who has now clearly patched up his problem with coach John Toshack after being dropped earlier in the season.
Toshack's hopes of having midfielder Mauro Silva and defender Nando Martinez back after injury have been dashed by fitness tests, but otherwise he is able to field his strongest line up.