Copenhagen will be tested in Istanbul, says Solbakken

FC Copenhagen's renewed mental strength will be put to the test when Stale Solbakken leads his side into a crucial Champions League Group B clash with Galatasaray.

Stale Solbakken

Both sides desperately need to win to keep their slim qualification hopes alive after each suffered a mauling by Real Madrid, while Juventus are the other side fancied to progress from the group.

FCK have bounced back from their 4-0 loss to Real with two straight Superliga wins, including a 3-0 victory over Aalborg last Sunday which, according to Solbakken, showed how far the capital club have come.

Solbakken said: "We are starting to look like a team that is gradually improving. We were very mentally fragile when I arrived but I think the players are starting to get stronger."

Copenhagen hope to have influential Norwegian winger Daniel Braaten back in their starting line-up to face the Turks after he came off the bench to play for the last half hour of the weekend win.

Like their opponents, Galatasaray are still looking for their first win in the group following their humiliating 6-1 opening defeat to Real and 2-2 draw at Juventus earlier this month.

Roberto Mancini's men ended a run of six Super Lig games without a win - including the suspended clash with Besiktas - last Saturday when they beat Karabukspor to move up to 11th place.

But boss Mancini has injury concerns after defender Hakan Balta limped off during the weekend win and is set to miss out along with team-mate Hamit Altintop.

Former Liverpool man Albert Riera is set to feature in midfield but the Italian coach is yet to decide on his starting XI.

He told Milliyet: "There are two players that I will make a decision about after training.

"Copenhagen are a good team. They have a good defence and are good on the counter-attack.

"There are no easy matches in the Champions League."

Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera added: "We started badly by losing points against Real Madrid, but we earned one in Turin.

"We tackle a Copenhagen side that are in good shape but we feel strong heading into the match."

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