CFR Cluj – Fact File
Cluj had to work hard to qualify for the group stage, coming through two qualifying rounds to secure their place in the draw. Firstly, they defeated Czech champions Slovan Liberec in the 3rd qualifying round before disposing of FC Basle, who knocked United out of the Champions League last year, in the play-off round. Based in Transylvania, the home of Dracula, the Romanian champions will be aiming to cause a few frights for their Group H opponents as they did in their maiden Champions League appearance in 2008/09. Then, Cluj got off to a flyer, defeating AS Roma 2-1 in the Stadio Olimpico before holding Chelsea to a 0-0 draw in Romania. Sadly, they then went on to lose the next four matches and finish bottom of their group. Still, the Romanians are undoubtedly the big underdogs in Group H and the two games against Cluj should hold little trepidation for a United side who will be expecting to take all 6 points from their match-ups.
- Last season: 1st in Liga 1
- Previous CL best: Group stage in 08/09 and 10/11
- Stadium: Cluj play their home games at the 24,000 seat capacity Dr. Constantin Radulescu Stadium which was renovated before their first Champions League appearance in order to bring it into line with Uefa standards.
- Star Men: Cluj are unsurprisingly devoid of household names but their biggest threat comes from Senegalese winger Modou Sougou who enjoyed a fairly successful career in Portugal – including a spell at Academica de Coimbra where he became a favourite of the current Tottenham coach Andre Villas Boas – before joining Cluj in the summer of 2011. He contributed 10 goals to their title success last season and it was his brace in Switzerland which helped them defeat FC Basle in qualifying. Their other main attacking threat comes from Greek striker Pantelis Kapetanos who scored 12 goals for Cluj last season whilst their defence is anchored by their captain, Portuguese centre-back Cadu.
- Any familiar faces: Unsurprisingly, no!
- Manager: Ioan Andone led Cluj to their first league title in 2007/08; a fantastic achievement considering that only six years previously Cluj had been playing in the 3rd division. He then left for spells coaching in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bulgaria before returning to Romania to take charge of capital club Rapid Bucharest. Andone only returned to the Cluj hot seat this summer however, taking over from Jorge Costa, but will be hoping his second spell in charge of Cluj proves just as successful as his first.