Panathinaikos hopes to rebound in Germany

So far this season, Panathinaikos has failed to live up to its reputation as Greece’s most reliable side in Europe in recent years, but is not being discounted by German team Stuttgart for tonight’s Champions League match in Germany. Panathinaikos, last in Group E with one point from two games, goes into the encounter having won its last three games on German territory. «We’re relatively new to the competition as opposed to Panathinaikos, a team that has considerable experience. Such clubs have proven, in the Champions League history, that they’re extremely dangerous,» said Stuttgart’s coach Felix Magat, whose team is placed second, a point behind Glasgow Rangers, following a 2-1 home win against Manchester United in the competition’s previous round. «Our objective is to register a second consecutive home victory.» Magat said he expected Panathinaikos to play defensively and to shoot forward on the counterattack, unlike Manchester United which «played openly.» The German, whose side is currently second in the domestic Bundesliga, also contended that Panathinaikos’s poor showing made the club – now desperate for points – more dangerous. Panathinaikos coach Itzhak Shum seemed calm despite his team’s urgent need for a constructive result tonight. «Every game begins from scratch and we have the experience to fight for the best,» said Shum. «Stuttgart has key players whom we will try to obliterate. We respect them but do not fear them. If it’s a good day for us, we will stun them.» Another heavy defeat, such as Panathinaikos’s 5-0 thrashing by Manchester United at Old Trafford in the opening round, could cost the Israeli his job, pundits say.