A look into the Romanian club on a whole and their chances of success in the Champions League this season...
The Romanian side finished 1st last season in Liga l Bergenbier (Romanian first division) therefore qualified for the Champions League group stages for the first time ever. Munteanu's men have represented their nation in the Europa League several times before but never played in the Champions League so this is a big achievement.
Otelul have been handed a tough group. They play English champions Manchester United, Portuguese side Benfica and Swiss team FC Basel. Many pundits have written them off to progress through the group stages and end up in the top 2. I most probably agree. I know anything can happen in football but I really can't see the small Romanian side beating the likes of Benfica, Manchester United or FC Basel. Still, it's a great oppotunity for them to show what they can do on the European stage and the players and manager will have the chance to play at the likes of Old Trafford which must be a dream come true. I think Otelul can give their opponents a fair game for sure. But at the end of the day they don't have enough quality compared to the opposition.
The club have some dangerous, talented players. The club captain, Sergiu Costin, should play a big role in the team's Champions League fixtures. It seems perverse to pick out an idividual from a side that derives much of it's strength from collective cohension. Regardless, though, Costin is the captain and calm defensive orchestrator and a vital component of a team that has far exceeded the sum of it's parts in claiming the Romanian League title and a first ever stab at Champions League football. The side also possess a couple of pacy, lethal strikers in Liviu Antal who scored 7 goals last season and also made his Romania debut just last June and fellow partner in crime Marius Pena who also scored 7 goals last season. Both have capped Romania at international level and a lot will rely on their shoulders if they are to get anything from the group as the defence and midfield isn't the strongest area and needs room for improvement. Obviously these players are no match to the likes of Wayne Rooney of Man Utd, Alexander Witsel of Benfica, Alexander Frei of FC Basel ect. but this competition will give them a chance to prove what they have and their potential to millions of eyes across the world. And who knows - if they exceed all expectations and grind out some good solo efforts then they could be off to one of the bigger leagues? With so many coaches and scouts watching it's possible.
Captain Costin clears as Otelul beat Politehnica Timisoara 2-1 to clinch title
The club has a long history and a proud culture and will be hoping to bring this to one of the mosty prestigous tournaments there is in the Champions League. Will they make history? Will they pull of some shock results against the likes of Manchester United and Benfica? Will they proceed past the group stages? Who knows. I don't think they care much at the moment. No doubt Munteanu just wants his players to go out and express themselves and enjoy the chance to go and play in such a high profiled competition against such well respected and big teams. Something I'm sure Otelul Galati will never forget. An oppotunity of a lifetime. I wish them all the best of luck and the fans a great experience. Otelul Galati - a small city in Romania living in a big dream.