Thursday, 30 August 2007

UEFA Cup quartet to discover first-round fates

Eighty-one teams enter Friday's UEFA Cup first round draw from 1200 (UK Time) in Monaco knowing they are just one tie from the competition's group stage.

All 32 winners from the second qualifying round, including Sampdoria who beat Hajduk Split 2-1 on aggregate on Thursday, go into the pots along with the sides who received an automatic place in the first round. Serie A's three UEFA Cup places went to Empoli, Fiorentina and Palermo, and all four Italian clubs have been seeded for the draw. The 15 teams who have been defeated so far in the Champions League third qualifying round, with one tie still to be completed, will also be entered in the draw.

For the draw, the clubs have been split into eight groups of ten, with five seeds in each pool to be drawn against any of the five unseeded sides. The teams that emerge victorious from the two-legged ties, scheduled for 20 September and 4 October, will be divided into eight sections of five, with the first of five group-stage Matchdays on 25 October.

Former winners Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hostpur, as well as Villarreal and Bordeaux are among the clubs in the hat for the draw to be staged at the Grimaldi Forum. Holders Sevilla, who will play AC Milan in the UEFA Super Cup at the Stade Louis II on Friday night, are also involved pending the outcome of the second leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against AEK Athens, which was resecheduled for Monday 3 September following the death of the Spanish side's midfielder Antonio Puerta on Tuesday.

Eight future contenders will not yet take part - that octet join the fray in the last 32 after finishing third in their respective Champions League groups. All involved will be dreaming of going all the way to the final at the City of Manchester Stadium in England on 14 May 2008.

Group 1:
Seeded: Sevilla/AEK Athens, Rapid Bucharest, Lokomotiv Moscow, Bolton Wanderers, Fiorentina.
Unseeded: Groningen, Nurnberg, Midtjylland, Salzburg, Rabotnicki.

Group 3:
Seeded: Panathinaikos, Bordeaux, Sparta Praha, Atletico Madrid, Empoli.
Unseeded: Odense, Artmedia Petrzalka, FC Zurich, Kayseri Erciyesspor, Tempere United.

Group 4:
Seeded: AZ Alkmaar, Anderlecht, Sochaux, Sampdoria, Spartak Moscow.
Unseeded: Panionios, Pacos Ferreira, Rapid Vienna, Aalborg, Hacken.

Group 5:
Seeded: Ajax, Palermo, Blackburn Rovers, Braga, Stade Rennes.
Unseeded: Dinamo Zagreb, Mlada Boleslav, Lokomotiv Sofia, Larissa, Hammarby.

Click here for the other four groups

Source: UEFA

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