Raab Upbeat Ahead Of White Swans Clash
Tampines Rovers vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(21 May, Sunday, 7.30pm, Jurong West Stadium)
Written by: Rashid Sulaiman
Ahead of their top of the table clash against Albirex Niigata (S) at the Jurong West Stadium in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League on Sunday night, Tampines Rovers head coach Jurgen Raab has expressed confidence that his side can come away with a result.
This is despite the fact they come up against a White Swans side who remains the only team yet to suffer a defeat in the league this season.
“After the win against Home United, we have the chance to close the gap at the top of the table and that is the target. We want to win this match against Albirex,” said Raab, whose team are currently second in the table on 18 points, five points behind leaders Albirex.
“Just like Home, Albirex is a tough opponent. We were unlucky in the first encounter against them in the Community Shield, because we could have win that match. This shows that we are capable of matching Albirex.”
The Stags’ other loss this season came against Warriors FC prior to their four-match winning run and Raab feels that the team has came out stronger as a result.
“We were unbeaten in the last few matches and I can see that the team have improved and there is stability in defence,” added the 58 year-old. “Confidence is high in the team and we have a good possibility to put pressure on the leaders.
“It is a nice situation for the league where there are a few teams at the top and so close together which makes it exciting for the fans. We believe we are prepared and now we will show it in the match.
“Most of the players are available. If Albirex puts in a better performance and win this match, I will accept it. But we will go in with a winning mentality,” explained the former German international.
Raab is not the only one looking maximum points from this match as White Swans’ tactician Kazuaki Yoshinaga will be keen to extend their unbeaten run and pull away from the other teams in the league table.
The defending champions are in red-hot form, having scored a staggering 21 goals in eight matches while conceding only five goals.
They will no doubt be relying on the striking duo of Tsubasa Sano and Ryota Nakai to continue their form in front of goal. Sano currently has eight goals while Nakai has four goals to his name in the league.
While Raab revealed that he has the full squad for selection, Albirex will be without defender Tomoki Menda who is serving his suspension after he was sent off in their match against Warriors.
Suspension: Tomoki Menda (Albirex Niigata (S))
Tampines Rovers - WWWLW
12/05/17 Tampines Rovers 3-2 Home United
03/05/17 Tampines Rovers 2-4 Ceres-Negros FC (AFC Cup)
28/04/17 Brunei DPMM 0-1 Tampines Rovers
23/04/17 Tampines Rovers 1-0 Garena Young Lions
19/04/17 Felda United 1-3 Tampines Rovers (AFC Cup)
Albirex Niigata (S) - DWWWW
11/05/17 Geylang International 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
29/04/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Warriors FC
21/04/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S)
14/04/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Hougang United
01/04/17 Home United 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
Head to Head (S.League)
26/02/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tampines Rovers
26/10/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-5 Tampines Rovers
24/06/16 Tampines Rovers 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S)
16/04/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Tampines Rovers
13/11/15 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-1 Tampines Rovers