Injuries hamper Matthaus debut

SOFIA, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's defensive problems have intensified with the injury withdrawals of Zhivko Milanov and Veselin Minev from Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales.

Vaslui right-back Milanov has a thigh injury while Levski Sofia left back Veselin Minev is suffering from a bad back, the pair joining a list of absentees which already includes PSV Eindhoven defender Stanislav Manolev.

The game in Cardiff will mark former World Cup-winning captain Lothar Matthaus's debut as Bulgaria coach after he took over from Stanimir Stoilov last month.

The 49-year-old German faces an uphill task to revive Bulgaria's chances of reaching the finals after back-to-back defeats to England and Montenegro in their opening qualifiers.

"We have problems but still I believe that we can beat Wales," Matthaus told reporters. "We have plenty of options and we're able to react appropriately in this situation."

Wales, who also have a new coach with Brian Flynn replacing John Toshak on an interim basis, lost their opening Group G qualifier 1-0 to Montenegro.