Manchester United vs. Otelul Galati: 5 Things You Didn't Know About the Otelarii
When Manchester United take on the little-known Otelul Galati in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, not only will it be the biggest match in the Otelarii's history, but it will also be the chance to finally find out who the heck they actually are.
After all, the average football fan doesn't tend to closely follow the Romania's top-flight, Liga I. Unless they are Romanian, of course.
So ahead of the Group C Champions League clash, here are five things you probably didn't know about Otelul Galati.
1. They Won't Play Their Champions League Matches at Home
When they take on Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League, Otelul Galati will play their matches at the 55,000 all-seater capacity Stadionul National in Bucharest.
That's instead of their home ground (pictured), the Stadionul Otelul, which doesn't meet UEFA requirements for the Champions League, as it only holds 13,500 and doesn't have floodlights.
It means their fans have to travel 118 miles from the port city of Galati in the Moldovia region of Romania to the capital city of Bucharest just to watch their team play.
2. Otelul Galati Players Earn £44,000... a Year
The Manchester United players, on average, earn £83,000 per week.
The average wage of their opponents is £44,000—a year.
A complete contrast in financial resources between the clubs, Otelul Galati's players earn on average £846 per week, which means the United players earn a staggering 9606 percent more than that of their opponents on Tuesday.
To put it in perspective, the vast majority of players in League Two, the fourth tier of English football, earn more than the players of Otelul Galati, who are the champions of Romania and are currently playing in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.
3. The Otelul Galati Players Asked for a Pay Cut This Season
Otelul Galati's 30-year-old playmaker and captain Gabriel Paraschiv led the team in asking chairman Marius Stan for a 30 percent pay cut this season.
According to Paraschiv, his performances after returning from what was meant to be a season-ending injury (he was out for a month) were not up to scratch, so he offered to take a pay cut to ease the burden on the club's debilitating debt.
He told the chairman: "I am not pleased with my recent form and the way I'm playing, so I would like to ask you to reduce my wage by 30 percent, starting this year."
"I'm grateful for the raise you have given me when I was on top of my game, so this is the right thing to do, especially considering the current financial struggle," said Paraschiv.
This came despite having just sealed the club's first ever Liga I title and automatic qualification to the highly lucrative UEFA Champions League group stages.
4. They've Started This Season Poorly
Nice Sweat Patch on Otelul Galati's Manager Dorinel Munteanu
Current Liga I title holders Otelul Galati have started the new campaign very poorly indeed.
They sit ninth in the 18-team league table after 10 matches, having won three, drawn three and lost four, having shipped in 11 goals and scored just eight.
At the moment, they're a better team away from home, winning 33 percent of their matches away compared to just 29 percent at home.
This doesn't bode well for their match against Manchester United, especially considering they've lost their opening two Champions League group games against FC Basel and SL Benfica.
5. They Play a 4-2-3-1 Formation
Otelul Galati manager Dorinel Munteanu has got his side playing a rather attacking 4-2-3-1 formation in a style that is similar to 2010 World Cup winners, Spain.
Holding midfielders Ioan Filip and Gabriel Giurgiu perform a Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets role in the centre, forming a double pivot which allows fullbacks Cornel Rapa and Adrian Salageanu license to get forward.
The man who plays the Cesc Fabregas role in the middle and pulls the strings is John Ibeh, the Nigerian who has never played for his home country but has been crucial to Otelul for the past two seasons.
It's usually his role to pick options in the final third and give good service for the front man, Marius Pena, to tuck away the chances, with the striker scoring six goals so far this season.
It is a rather bold style from Munteanu which saw them fight their way to the title last season, but is just a stretch too far this time, with their approach more careless than anything else.
If they play the way they have been this season against Manchester United, the chances of them winning would be a long shot indeed.