Blues Continue Pre-Season Programme at Interwetten Cup
Saturday, 13th Jul 2019 14:01
Town boss Paul Lambert plans to field a different team in each of the Blues’ two 45-minute games at the Interwetten Cup at SV Meppen’s Hänsch-Arena on Sunday.
Lambert played a different XI in the two halves of last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Paderborn and he says he plans to take “exactly the same” approach this weekend.
Regarding the 45-minute match format, Lambert says he played in similar games after signing for Borussia Dortmund in 1996.
“I played in them when I first signed for Dortmund, so for me it’s not new,” he said. “For you guys it’s new but for me it’s not.
“For the team it’s maybe new as well, but 45 and 45 in my book I think is 90, so it’s a game.”
New signings Luke Garbutt and James Norwood are both expected to make their first appearances in Town shirts.
Gwion Edwards (groin), Jon Nolan (calf) and Alan Judge (wrist) all watched last Saturday's match as they continue their recoveries from injury and may again miss out.
Freddie Sears travelled with the squad for the training camp but is still at least four months from a return to action after his ACL injury.
Lambert visited the Hänsch-Arena earlier in the week when he said he was impressed by the stadium and stressed the significance of the games as the Blues prepare for their League One campaign.
"The tournament in Meppen is very important in our preparation. An endurance test,” he said.
“We meet with Düsseldorf, Utrecht and SV Meppen, strong opponents who will challenge us.
“We are in the fourth week of preparation and are working hard on fitness. The Interwetten Cup is very important to us. We are looking forward to interesting games.”
In their opening match Town will take on Fortuna Düsseldorf, whose fans have become a regular sight at Portman Road over the last decade with Town supporters also having made the trip to watch the Bundesliga side, at 2pm local time (1pm in UK). If the games are level after 45 minutes they will go to penalties.
Fortuna finished 10th in the Bundesliga last season, their first campaign back in the German top flight.
The Fortuna Blues are running a coach to the game from Düsseldorf with more than 75 Town supporters who have travelled from Suffolk using their home city as their base for the weekend and joining them on the trip to the match.
The other two teams in the competition, Dutch club Utrecht and hosts SV Meppen, will play then one another at 3pm, again local time.
The two losing teams will take part in a third-place play-off at 4pm with the winning sides meeting in the final at 5pm (both local time).
Utrecht finished sixth in last season’s Eredivisie and won a play-off for a place in the second qualification round of the UEFA Europa League where they will play either North Macedonians Akademija Pandev or HŠK Zrinjski Mostar from Bosnia and Herzegovina with the latter leading 3-0 from the first leg.
Town hosted Utrecht at Portman Road in a pre-season friendly ahead of the 2015/16 campaign with the game ending 1-1.
SV Meppen ended last season 13th in 3. Liga, the third tier of German football. Their stadium, currently known as the Hänsch-Arena, was constructed in 1924 with its record attendance the 18,000 crowd which watched a friendly against a Barcelona side featuring Diego Maradona in 1982. Its current capacity is 13,696.
Tickets for the Interwetten Cup are available online here €22 for seats and €10 for standing. Town supporters are advised to purchase standing tickets in the ExxonMobil grandstand and seating in the KiKxxl grandstand in blocks K and L.
The tournament will mark the end of Town’s pre-season training camp in Germany with the Blues flying home on Monday.
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