No fear is the rousing message from boss Barry Robson ahead of Aberdeen’s Europa Conference League group opener with Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.
And Robson has urged his players to be brave, impose themselves and “fight for this club” in the group G clash against the Bundesliga giants.
The Dons return to European group stage action for the first time in 16-years when they face Frankfurt on Thursday.
Eintracht Frankfurt won the Europa League in 2022 and are unbeaten in seven games in all competitions this season.
In contrast, Robson’s rebuilt Reds – with 13 summer signings – have struggled to find form this term.
However, Robson has no concerns about the group fixture in Germany and has urged his players to enjoy the occasion.
And he believes the Reds are capable of shocking one of the tournament favourites.
Robson said: “It doesn’t scare me – it’s exciting.
“Let’s meet the challenge head on.
“You want to play against top players, top teams and in top venues. If you don’t want to do that then you shouldn’t be in this game.
“That’s the mindset all the players are in. This is what you work so hard for and I think they’ll enjoy it when they’re out there.
“That’s what I’ve told them – go and enjoy it.
“Of course we believe. We know they’re a good side with some real quality players, but this is a game of football and we have good players ourselves, so we want to come here and try to impose ourselves on them.
“And I’m sure we’ll do that.”
‘They’ll move the ball at speed and move you around’
Aberdeen make a welcome return to Euro group stage action for the first time since the Uefa Cup run of 2007-08.
The Dons had tried, and failed, on numerous occasions since then to return to the groups.
Finally Robson led them to the Euro promised land – and he aims to make the most of it.
He said: “There’s excitement in the group, the players have done well to get here and it’s a brilliant competition to play in.
“It’s the first time in a long time we’ve been here in the groups.
“We want to perform on this stage.
“So go and enjoy it, impose yourself on the game and bring a positive performance.
“In my experience of playing real top teams in Europe, the first thing you have to do is make sure you’re ready for it.
“They’ll move the ball at speed and move you around.
“Top teams change formations and tweak bits in the game you need to adapt to.
“So you need to be ready for it and fight for the club.”
Robson bristles at direct football criticism after poor run of results
Aberdeen trained at Cormack Park on Wednesday morning before flying out to Germany.
Robson opted not to train on the pitch at Eintracht Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park.
Instead, they walked around the 58,000-capacity stadium on Wednesday night to get a feel for the arena.
Aberdeen will have to shake off their domestic woes for the Euro challenge.
The Reds were criticised for the route one football in the 2-0 Premiership loss to Hearts at the weekend.
When questioned about that, Robson said: “What’s direct? That’s what I would ask.
“So when you isolate it in one game, what’s direct? It’s not something I get caught up on, to be honest.
“We had a lot of plaudits for the way we played, we had plaudits for the way we performed in the Hacken games.
“So we take it with a pinch of salt.
“It’s difficult to keep the ball against top sides as well. You have to make sure the first pass is right, especially up against a team who have the lion’s share of possession.
“We will need to do all aspects of the game well.
“You need to be clinical at every level, you have seen that.
“If we’d been clinical in both boxes, we’d be in a different position this season, but that’s why you take positivity coming here.
“It’s never easy to come to a place like this and keep a clean sheet.
“But that’s the aim and the tactical aim is to do that and try to get a goal at the other end.”
If we’d been clinical in both boxes, we’d be in a different position this season.” – Barry Robson
Travelling Red Army will be ‘big part’ of any result
More than 2,000 Aberdeen fans have travelled to Germany to witness the club’s return to the Euro groups.
Robson appreciates their dedicated backing.
He said: “The support the fans gave us last year helped us.
“I’ve always said when you take the fans with you, they really help you.
“They are a big part of it.
“In the home Hacken game, that was the best I’ve heard Pittodrie in a long time.
“In the away Hacken game, too.
“It has been important for us, so hopefully we can put on a performance.
“We know it’s going to be difficult, but that doesn’t stop us going out there and performing, trying to get a result.”
Dons will be ‘as positive as we can be without opening ourselves up’
Eintracht Frankfurt boast top-level players including Mario Gotze, the 2014 World Cup-winning German international attacking midfielder.
Captain Sebastian Rode, meanwhile, is a former Bayern Munich star and striker Lucas Alario is an Argentina international.
Robson insists he is willing to be positive in Germany without “opening ourselves up”.
He said: “I have watched a lot of them over the last couple of days.
“What system they play, we have had reports on them and done a lot of work on Eintracht Frankfurt.
“We will try to be tactically good – as positive as we can without opening ourselves up.”
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) September 20, 2023