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Special night for Rafael

Posted on 14 September 2010  - 12:00

Rafael van der Vaart is back on familiar territory as we kick-off our Champions League group stage campaign at Werder Bremen tonight.

Special night for Rafael

Rafael van der Vaart is back on familiar territory as we kick-off our Champions League group stage campaign at Werder Bremen tonight.

Our transfer deadline day capture from Real Madrid spent three seasons in Germany with Hamburg - Werder Bremen's local rivals in the Bundesliga.

Rafael made his debut for us in Saturday's Premier League draw at West Brom.

The Dutch midfielder is expected to feature again three days later as we enter the Champions League 'proper' for the first time in our history.

Indeed, tonight marks our first match back amongst Europe's elite since reaching the semi-finals in the competition's former format - the European Cup - in 1961-62.

"I know this is massive for the club and it's big for me as well because Hamburg and Bremen in Germany is a big rivalry, just like Tottenham and Arsenal," said Rafael, who got through 90 minutes at the Hawthorns.

"Bremen are one of the best attacking teams in Europe," continued Rafael on the side that reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 2009, losing out to our conquerors that season, Shakhtar Donetsk.

"They score many goals, but I believe we will have a good chance against them.

"It's a big night for everyone, the stadium will be full and it's the start of the Champions League. It will be a special night."