ROME (Reuters) - Bordeaux know they must stop Francesco Totti if they are to get the win they need at Group A leaders AS Roma on Tuesday to reach the Champions League last 16.
The Roma captain’s return to full fitness from a knee injury has coincided with his side’s recovery from a miserable start to the season, with their fifth consecutive victory coming at Serie A basement side Chievo Verona on Saturday.
The Italians lead Group A with nine points, one more than Chelsea and two more than Bordeaux, and only require a draw to be sure of qualifying after Totti scored to help them to a 3-1 win at CFR Cluj two weeks ago.
“Totti is more than a simple player for Roma. He is outstanding, the team’s real standard bearer,” Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc told reporters.
”When he is on the pitch, he can transform his team mates and the way his team play. What’s more, he can do something special on his own to give Roma victory.
“First we will first try to defend well. If we defend well, we will have opportunities to win.”
The understanding Totti has developed with close-season signing Julio Baptista has been an important part of Roma’s recent return to form.
“On the field we speak the same language,” Brazil forward Baptista, who scored twice in Roma’s 3-1 victory at Bordeaux in October, told reporters last week.
Roma striker Mirko Vucinic, who was also on target in France, and midfielder David Pizarro are fighting to come back from knee problems in time for Tuesday.
But Italy midfielder Alberto Aquilani (thigh) and defender Max Tonetto (Achilles) are unlikely to be fit, according to Italian media reports.
If Vucinic does not make it, French forward Jeremy Menez is set to get the nod after he capped off a fine performance with the winning goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Chievo.
Menez said Roma do not intend to make do with a draw on Tuesday.
“We want to win to finish top of the group,” he said. “It would be a prestigious result and we don’t want to let it get away.”
First-choice goalkeeper Ulrich Rame should return from five weeks out with a groin injury for Bordeaux, who snatched their first victory in four Ligue 1 games on Saturday by beating bottom club Valenciennes 2-1.
AS Roma: 32-Doni; 2-Christian Panucci, 5-Philippe Mexes, 4-Juan, 17-John Arne Riise; 20-Simone Perrotta, 16-Daniele De Rossi, 33-Matteo Brighi; 24-Jeremy Menez, 19-Julio Baptista, 10-Francesco Totti
Girondins Bordeaux: 1-Ulrich Rame; 21-Mathieu Chalme, 27-Marc Planus, 14-Souleymane Diawara, 6-Franck Jurietti; 5-Fernando, 4-Alou Diarra, 8-Yoann Gourcuff, 17-Wendel; 29-Marouane Chamakh, 9-Fernando Cavenaghi
Referee: Herbert Fandel (Germany)