Soccer - Champions League: 90 minutes from the Nou Camp

Betar Jerusalem must avoid defeat in Krakow tonight to book a CL clash with Barcelona.

betar train 224.8 (photo credit: Gigi Luz )
betar train 224.8
(photo credit: Gigi Luz )
Betar Jerusalem finally arrived in Krakow on Tuesday, a day behind schedule but focused on the task in hand. The fate of Wednesday night's Champions League second qualifying round second leg against Polish Champion Wisla Krakow is in hands of the Israeli team's thanks to an Aviram Bruchian brace which secured a 2-1 first leg lead. After a technical fault prevented the team's charter plane leaving on Monday the players looked somewhat exhausted as they arrived back at Ben-Gurion airport early Tuesday morning. But a rest on the four-hour flight appeared to rejuvenate the squad and, as it emerged from the arrivals lounge, there were few signs of anything but a professional attitude. Clearly the stakes have been raised, and the Israeli champion will do all it can to make it through to the third and final qualifying round. If Betar avoids defeat in Poland it will win the chance to play Spain's FC Barcelona for a place in the Champions League group stage. Betar coach Itzhak Schum refused to be swayed by the emotion of the possible clash with Barca's stars. "I'm surprised that people ask whether our motivation is stronger because of the [potential] game with Barcelona," Schum told reporters at a press conference in Krakow. "We are not motivated because of Barcelona, we are motivated because of the current match against Wisla Krakow. They are a professional team and so are we. "We want to win and what's important is what happens tomorrow. Right now I am not paying any attention to what will happen later on." Both Schum and his Polish counterpart Maciej Skorza said they had no doubts about the make up of their teams for Wednesday's game. "I knew tomorrow's line up 24 hours after the first game against Wisla," Schum said. With Shimon Gershon still out injured, Tomer Ben-Yosef will continue to partner Arik Benado in the center of Jerusalem's defense. There have been doubts over the fitness of Argentinian midfielder Dario Fernandez, who was injured last week. If he is unable to play then fellow new signing Moshe Ohayon is expected to take his place in the center of the field alongside Derek Boateng. One change which is all but definite is the inclusion of midfielder Michael Zandberg in place of striker Toto Tamuz, allowing Schum to play a 4-5-1 formation in an effort to pack the midfield and stifle the opposition. While he was clearly also focused on Wednesday's game, Skorza did allow a small thought about the chance of playing at the Nou Camp. "The winner tomorrow will get the prize of playing against Barcelona, which will be a great opportunity and honor," Skorza said at the press conference. The Polish coach stressed his assuredness, stating that, "the team is fully concentrated on tomorrow's game and we believe that we will win." The away goal Krakow scored in Poland could prove significant, but that Betar won the first leg has had an effect on the Polish team's game plan. "The result in Jerusalem dictates our tactics. We know we need to make up for the lost goal," Skorza said. "We worked hard all week to prepare for this game and make up for the gap and I believe that we will achieve good results. The previous game proved that Betar is a good and strong team, yet I hope that this game will prove that Wisla is better." Referring to Betar's travel problems. Skorza added: "I noticed that there is bad luck surrounding the Betar-Wisla games. We had bad luck in the previous game, now Betar had bad luck with their late arrival here. We hope there will be no more bad surprises and that both teams will have good luck." The flight delay meant Betar was not able to prepare as intended but Schum had no doubts that all would work out ok. The team trained in Krakow on Tuesday. "Today will be our first and only practice in Poland - we were supposed to arrive yesterday, but arrived only today," he said. "What happened yesterday doesn't matter. We're 24 hours before the game, we will make all efforts to be ready for tomorrow's game, and that's what's important." Gigi Luz contributed to this report.