Spyin' Kop: Liverpool v Debrecen - CL

Posted by Barney_Rubble on September 13, 2009, 07:38:29 PM

Champions League, here we go again! Drawn against three teams we've never met before, Reds fans get to expand their broad horizons a little further. First over the new horizon are Champions League debutants, Debreceni VSC.

Debreceni VSC, DVSC or just Debrecen (Debreceni is incorrect!) is a football club from the city of Debrecen in Hungary.

The club was founded on 12 March 1902, initially being known as "Egyetértés Futball Club" but on becoming independent it was renamed "Debreceni Vasutas Sport Club" (Debrecen Railway Sports Club). The club's nickname is Loki (Lokomotiv), from its long-standing ties to the railways. In 1926 professionalism came to the Hungarian football scene, with the unfortunate result that "Bocskay FC" was formed using players from DVSC and city rivals DKASE and DTE, with the result that Bocskay ruled the football roost in Debrecen for 15 years while DVSC struggled in the lower divisions. In 1940 the professional/amateur division of players was abolished and Bocskay suffered financial collapse, returning DVSC to top-dog position in the city. DVSC reached the Hungarian First Division for the first time in 1942–43, but then suffered something of a yo-yo existence for the next fifty years, suffering eight relegations in all, even starting the 1967 season in the Third Division.

DVSC's most successful period has been since its most recent promotion to the First Division in 1993, since when the club has won its only national honours – the Hungarian Cup was won in 1999 and 2001, and the Hungarian League title for the first time in 2005. They managed to duplicate the feat and win the league in 2006 as well. In a dramatic final day they defeated Pápa 4–1, and the then-leader of the league Újpest FC (who had the same number of points as DVSC but had more away wins) lost to Fehérvár in a climatic battle ending in 3–1, which also caused Fehérvár to place 3rd. In 2007 Loki became again the Hungarian champions on the 28th match-day.

In August 2009, they defeated Levski Sofia 4–1 on aggregate to become the first Hungarian team in 14 years to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League.


Winners: 2004–2005, 2005–2006, 2006–2007, 2008–09
Runners-up: 2007–2008

Winners: 1999, 2001, 2008
Runners-up: 2003, 2007

Winners: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Runners-up: 2008

Runners-up: 2008


All credit to tepy75 and thespionkop for making contact, posing the questions and all the translating. And thanks of course to the Debrecen fans who took part.

1. Sorry but we don't know anything about the Hungarian league but how has the season been shaping up so far including the Champions League? We know that there's no any Hungarian team in CL for 14 years.

Jigsaw: It’s incredible to be involved in the CL group stage among some of the biggest and most famous teams in Europe. It was a difficult journey because we had to eliminate three league winners along the way. We were the underdogs against two of them (Elfsborg and Levski Sofia) but we managed to get through on both occasions, first on away goals against the Swedes and than we’ve beaten an underperforming Levski both away and home.Obviously, everyone is buzzing now. We have nothing to lose even if we finish with zero points and no goals scored in the group stage.

Pisti: It’s like a miracle. No one expected us to make it to the CL group stage.I thought we will go out in the first qualifying round. Ever since we have beaten Levski in the 3rd qualifying round, there’s this incredible buzz in town and also in Hungary. Everybody is talking about the CL only, it’s the big national cause at the moment.

L: It’s been truly fantastic. In the last few years we did not really do well in Europe. We were eliminated by such European giants as Macedonian Skopje, Swedish Elfsborg and Swiss Young Boys. We certainly did not expect to make it to the CL proper this season either, but we somehow got there.

2. We know almost nothing about your club. Could you tell us something about your club's history and successes?

Jigsaw: The club was founded in 1902 and has 4 league titles in total (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009) and won the Hungarian Cup three times. It is a highly valuable achievement for a team that is not from the capital Budapest. Until the 90’s Hungarian football was dominated by the Budapest clubs, having by far the most resources available.This situation has only started to change recently and a few teams from the smaller towns are becoming more and more successful.

Pisti: Loki (Debreceni VSC’s nickname) was founded in 1902 and changed its name a few times over the years. Ours was a fairly average rural town club for many decades and  our fortunes only have started to change from 1993 when we freshly got promoted to the top flight. With the leadership of a truly excellent manager (Lajos Garamvölgyi) we ended up in 3rd spot the next season and won our first Hungarian Cup in 1999. In 2001 a successful local businessman Gábor Szima took over ownership of the club and started to build the team with financial support and effective management. He realized that building a successful team takes time and sound financial decisions. We have become a force in the Hungarian football scene ever since and have been winning league titles, domestic cups and Super Cup fixtures on an annual basis. In the last five years we were crowned league chamions four times, this achievement speaks for itself.

L: When I started to go and support our team in 1978 it was a fairly average team trying to gain promotion to the top flight. After that we were in and out of the first division all the time. Nowdays we are dominating Hungarian football, we have four league titles, won the cup three times and are in the CL group stages.

3. What are your expectations for this season?

Jigsaw: We cannot have very big ambitions in Europe, really. We more or less reached the maximum for a Hungarian club. We can always dream, however even a 3rd spot finish in the group would be an incredible achievement.
Domestically, we are targeting the title again. Although we did not start the season brilliantly, there is no Hungarian club at the moment that could realistically challenge us in terms of the strength of their squad.

Pisti: To manage to get at least one point in the CL group stage.

L: We have overachieved in Europe, really. The CL proper is like a big bonus for us. Domestically, we want to defend our league title in order to have another go and perhaps a nice run in Europe again. The first part of our season will be quite difficult due to the additional CL games.

4. Long term plans?

Jigsaw: Even more league titles. It would be great to dominate the league for years to come. It would also be nice to get constant results in Europe to qualify for the CL proper occasionally.Would be great to have a proper ground as well, we fans simply deserve it.

Pisti: You should ask our owner about the plans. I would love to have Loki to qualify to the CL group stage every season.

L: It would be great to manage to keep our momentum somewhat and to regularly play in the CL or the Europa League.

5. Who do you think is your most important player(s), and why?

Jigsaw: Easy: Vukasin Poleksic. He’s the first choice keeper of Debrecen and a Montenegro international. I believe he’s amongst the top 20 goalkeepers in Europe. He played for Lecce in the Serie A before coming to us. Very reliable goalkeeping, great kicker of the ball, he even scored from the spot once.

Pisti: The team is the most important. It’s the entire squad that was inevitable in getting here. If I need to single out one particular player it would be Gergely Rudolf.

L: Our iconic player is Tibor Dombi. He played abroad for many years, but only ever played for Loki in Hungary. He is over his pinnacle years, but still works very hard for the team whenever he goes on the pitch. Unfortunately, he will not be eligible to play at Anfield due to suspension.
Our best player is Gergely Rudolf, he has been nurtured in France. He’s good on the ball, fast and has an eye for goal.

6. Your worst player(s), and why?

Jigsaw: Perhaps Péter Szakály. Not a bad player but doesn’t fully fit into our line-up. He plays left midfield, when picked, however he’s not consistent enough and doesn’t really last longer than 60 minutes.

Pisti: Not a nice question to answer. If I have to name and shame one player, it’s Péter Szakály. Does not cover enough ground and not particularly great on the ball. We must be thankful for his efforts against Tallin though.

L: We don’t have any bad players, of course. J It’s a shame that the Brazilian Vinicius could not get a regular place in our team. I think he’s technically gifted and a real crowd pleaser. The management team does not think he brings enough to the play, though.

7. Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?

Jigsaw: József Varga: holding midfielder, aged 21, scored 3 times on 5 starts in the CL qualifiers. He’s risen from the reserves all of a sudden and I believe he will end up in a big European league very soon.
Gergely Rudolf: 24 year old striker. He was nurtured by French club Nancy for three years. He’s quick and he can get beat a defender, he’s a bit selfish sometimes though. He’s the top goalscorer in the squad and will end up at a bigger European club soon.

Pisti: It must be József Varga. He played 2nd division football last season and now he’s scoring goals for fun in CL qualifier games. I am sure he will be playing for a bigger team come next season.

L: József Varga deserves a mention here. Last season he played for the reserves, this season he scored a few goals in th CL qualifiers from a holding role. He’s a good tackler, runs his heart out and still only 21.

8. How did you feel yourself when you realised your opponents after the CL draw? What about Liverpool FC?

Jigsaw: Well, mixed feelings, really. It would have been better to end up in a group with Barca and Inter or in the one with Real Madrid and AC Milan to see some real giants on Hungarian soil. Some of us also wanted to be drawn to play against Sevilla, Rangers and Stuttgart to have a slight chance to get some results.
Our group contains one big club (Liverpool) and two very strong but not overly attractive clubs against whom it will be very difficult to get a draw even. I am not very excited about the prospect of facing Liverpool, I feel quite neutral about them as a club. I feel envious about our fans who will make it to Anfield though, it really has to be a unique ground with great atmosphere.

Pisti: My first thought was how to organise a trip to Anfield, it was always my dream to support Loki in that stadium. I was really made up, as Liverpool are my favourite foreign team together with PSV Eindhoven. I was not really pleased to get Lyon though, I think they will beat your lot as well.

L: We would have wanted to avoid the giants and play against the “lesser teams”, obviously. As there are no such teams in the CL group stage and our chances to go through are very slim some people would have preferred to be drawn against the European greats and play against the likes of AC Milan, Real Madrid, Barca, etc. In that respect we must be happy to be drawn against Liverpool who are a very popular club amongst us, me included. We get to play at Anfield, what more can we wish for?

9. Are you pleased with the new signings your club have?

Jigsaw: Yes.
László Bodnár turned out to be a great signing for us. An experienced full back who can play on both wings and he has a cracking shot. Would be great to afford to keep him for a long time.
Adamo Coulibaly had a difficult start to the season but he’s improving quick. Great workrate and scores important goals.
Luis Ramos is a Honduras international and is probably the best holding midfield player in the country at the moment.
We signed a few more squad players who will probably play some parts in the Hungarian league campaign mostly.

Pisti: Yes, I think both Bognár and Ramos are great signings.

L: Yes, considering our spending power. We did not really strengthen the starting eleven, but we have a stronger squad now, we can replace injured or suspended players with better quality this season.

10. Are the Debrecen's leadership capable to achieve the goals in your view?

Jigsaw: Yes, absolutely. At first we were a bit worried about some mistakes that cost us a few points in the league. But their work is now paying dividends. Some quality players came through from the reserves and all the new signings are adapting well. They communicate effectively with the players who have responded well. They are also good tactically.

Pisti: Yes, they have overachieved, clearly.

L: It’s about the finances again. I don’t think we could find a better management team in Hungary and we could not afford to have a better one from abroad.

11. What sort of line-up will be put out against us?

Jigsaw: No surprises, really. Poleksic - Bodnár, Komlósi, Mészáros, Leandro - Czvitkovics, Varga, Kiss Z., Szakály - Coulibaly, Rudolf.

Pisti: Polekszics - Bernáth, Mészáros, Komlósi, Leandro - Szakály, Kiss Z., Ramos, Czvitkovics - Coulibaly, Rudolf

L: Polekszics - Bodnár, Komlósi, Mészáros, Leandro - Czvitkovics, Kiss Z., Ramos, Szakály - Rudolf, Coulibaly

12. Do you have any favourite/best chant(s) and songs and perhaps any that require an explanation? Tell us something about your fans.

Jigsaw: Yes, my favourite chant is the following:
"Ha majd meccsre jársz. Meglátsz sok csodát. A füstbombák szagát. A könnygáz illatát, Csak egy csapatért, A DEBRECENÉRT Szurkolj hát neki. Gy?zzön a LOKI"
It would be a silly idea to translate this, it is basically a rallying cry. A call to arms.
I think our fans are pretty good. Some Budapest clubs have bigger and louder firms, but we have nothing to be ashamed of.

Pisti: Our fans are not among the most feared firms in Hungary, they are mostly reasonable people. Our biggest Ultra group is called Szívtiprók (Heartbreakers). I am not part of any groups so I cannot really provide a great insight.

L: My favourite chant goes like this:

Senkit se szerettem
Senkit se tiszteltem
És soha nem sírtam
Míg rólad nem tudtam.

Kimentem egy meccsre
Kimentem még egyre
Azóta itt vagyok
És neked szurkolok.

Te vagy kit szeretek
Te vagy kit tisztelek
Teérted harcolok
És ha kell, meghalok.

It’s a great chant about supporting your one and only team through thick and thin and to ready to fight and die for the team if needed.
Our biggest fan group is the Heartbreakers. They go to great lengths in supporting the team, travel everywhere. They are somewhat right wing oriented politically and are a bit elitist perhaps for my taste.

13. Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Jigsaw: We fear no one. Our opponents should fear us. J
Joking aside, and being an Atletico Madrid fan, I fear Torres the most. He’s an incredible goal threat, one of the best strikers in the World.

Pisti: Benayoun and Kuyt.

L: Gerrard and Torres.

14. Which game will be more important? The weekend's domestic league match or your first CL game?

Jigsaw: Opinions are mixed here. I would prefer to win the league game. I do not want us to only concentrate on the CL and drop points domestically. The Hungarian league should be our priority and we signed enough good players to be able to fight in both competitions. Also, some of our fixtures will be moved aside to avoid fixture congestions.

Pisti: Well, what would you say? It’s against Liverpool, after all…

L: Well, the tickets for the game at Anfield were sold out. At that particular league game I presume there will be only a few dozen fans although the travelling involved are not comparable. I think that answers the question quite clearly.

15. What kind of atmosphere we can expect in Ferenc Puskás Stadium?

Jigsaw: Don’t expect hell. Although it will be sold out, many of the spectators will go to see Liverpool play. Our fans will have to be real loud to create a good atmosphere. The layout of the Ferenc Puskás Stadium will not help either being a typical athletics stadium. You lot will not be impressed, but we will try to do our best.

Pisti: It will be a sold out fixture which means 40,000 people. If we would manage to sneak a few points by then, it would be crazy, because then even the neutrals from Budapest would cheer us on. Although the Liverpool game will be the most expensive to get a ticket for the prices will still be quite moderate compared to England.

L: It is not one of the best grounds; the stands are quite far away from the pitch. It is a bit too big for Loki, and there will be many neutrals. I don’t expect a great atmosphere, but we will try to do what we can.

16. What is the reason Debreceni VSC won't play at their own groud in the CL?

Jigsaw: We don’t have a proper stadium. There were many false promises over the years but no plans in place to change this situation. An English 2nd division team has a better ground than us. This is the current Hungarian football reality.

Pisti: Well, just check out our “stadium pictures” on the club website. It’s a real dump. We heard many promises, of course from our politicians so we do not really expect to have a proper ground anytime soon.

L: Our ground is not up to UEFA standards in any way. There are no VIP seats and no proper infrastructure for the media. It is too small as well, only holds 10,000.

17. Care to predict the score (both matches)?

Jigsaw: Don’t want to predict scores, really. My head says we will end up without any points and perhaps score one or two in the group. If I would follow my heart my tips would be:
Liverpool 3 Debrecen 1
Debrecen 2 Liverpool 1

Pisti: Liverpool 3 Debrecen 0
Debrecen 1 Liverpool 1

L: I’d be quite pleased to only lose 3-0 at Anfield and maybe only get beaten 2-0 at home. It depends also whether you will still need points in the last round; against a weakened Liverpool side we may even scrape a draw.

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