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PREVIEW: Audi Quattro Cup- VALENCIA

Saints step up preseason efforts as they face tough opposition from Germany, Spain and Austria.

Southampton move on from their first preseason friendly against Rasenballsport Leipzig into the final part of their tour of Austria as they compete in the Audi Quattro Cup this Saturday.

The weekend’s round robin features Bundesliga and La Liga giants in Werder Bremen and Valencia CF respectively, as well as hosts Red Bull Salzburg who are holding the tournament in their home stadium, Red Bull Arena.

Saints will face two 45 minute clashes, with Ronald Koeman facing his old side Valencia at 4:05pm BST before facing one of Salzburg or Bremen, depending on results. The two losers will face off for third place at 5:10pm, but if Saints were to taste victory over Los Ches, they will be in the final at 6:15pm.

To preview the tournament, we have asked three fans based in Germany, Austria and Spain to find out more about the three teams standing in Saints way of lifting the Audi Quattro Cup.

VALENCIA

In the first full season of the Peter Lim era, Valencia finished in the Champions League qualifying spots for the first time since 2012. However, the club is much more stable under the ownership of the Singaporean businessman, as fan Jonathan Roorda will testify.

Jonathan works for football stats aficionados Opta and despite being born in Haarlem, Netherlands, is a big fan of Valencia through living in Spain. As well as speaking Dutch and Spanish, Jonathan also speaks English and was part of a team that tweeted news for English-speaking Valencia fans.

SMS: Last season was much better for Valencia, what with the successful takeover and Champions League qualification. What was it like from a fan's perspective?

JR: It was good to see Valencia compete for the top spots again after having attracted some decent player during the summer transfer window. The arrival of Álvaro Negredo excited the fans and after a few impressive results, expectations were high for what the season might bring.


Valencia then began to suffer a little and made it into the Champions League play-offs only just. The fans are used to suffering along with the club: Nothing ever comes easy at Valencia and this season was no exception.

SMS: Peter Lim (the new owner of Valencia) was once linked with a takeover at Saints after Nicola Cortese departed. What is different under Lim compared to the previous owners?

JR: The arrival of Lim meant that Valencia no longer has to sell its top players in order to survive. In addition, the club can now look beyond the usual low-budget prospects to find players that might really improve the team as a whole rather than just fill the gap. People are no longer worried whether the club will still exist in a few years or not.

However, Lim's way of handling things has also caused tension at the club as some officials disagree with the way transfers are handled. Lim (below) has close ties with agent Jorge Mendes and this cooperation appears to exclude some of the club's top officials.

SMS: On the pitch, Valencia finished fourth. Who were the real stars who Saints should be wary of?

JR: Paco Alcácer did well up front. He's a young striker who scores his share of goals and has already made it into the Spanish national team at the expense of Diego Costa. Another young guy to watch is Jose Gaya, our left back. In addition, right winger Sofiane Feghouli can cause some pressure on Southampton's defense with his high pace.

SMS: Finally, what sort of season can you see Valencia having next season?

JR: It's hard to say. It all depends on what happens this summer. Star defender Otamendi might well leave and our first goalkeeper Diego Alves starts the season injured. Being Valencia, anything can happen.

We thank Jonathan for his time and help! You can follow him on Twitter, @Stranib.