Tuesday, 9 October 2007

UC: Viola face Spanish test

Fiorentina have been drawn alongside top seeds Villarreal for the UEFA Cup Group stage, and will travel to Spain in the opening round of matches in Group C.

The Viola will also host Elfsborg from Sweden on Matchday 2, face a tough trip to Greek giants AEK Athens, and finish off in Florence against Palermo’s Czech conquerors Mlada Boleslav.

Cesare Prandelli’s men squeezed past Dutch outfit Groningen on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 aggregate draw in the First Round.

The toughest test of the Group Stage will come against Villarreal and the match will see striker Giuseppe Rossi play his first game against Italian opposition since leaving Parma last season.

Mlada Bolselav, who broke Palermo hearts when they triumphed in a penalty shoot-out in Sicily last Thursday, will also offer a stern test for the Tuscan side in the final round of matches. Serie A’s other representatives Sampdoria and Empoli also crashed out at the first hurdle and will be left to think about what might have been.

While Rossi will relish the chance to play Fiorentina, former Viola star Luca Toni will not return to his old stomping ground as German giants Bayern Munich have drawn Bolton Wanderers, Braga, Crvena Zvezda and Aris Thessaloniki in Group F.

Each club will play two matches at home and two away on the five Group C matchdays - 25 October, 8 November, 29 November, 05/06 December and 19/20 December.
The fixture compute has also also allocated a rest for the Viola on Matchday 4.

The winners, runners-up and third-placed sides from each group progress to the Last 32 stage where they are joined by the eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League group stage. At that point, the traditional two-game format is used with the exception of the Final, which takes place at England's City of Manchester stadium on 14 May 2008.

Full UEFA Cup group stage draw:
Group A: AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands), Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia), Everton (England), Nurnberg (Germany) & Larissa (Greece).
Group B: Panathinaikos (Greece), Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Copenhagen (Denmark) & Aberdeen (Scotland).
Group C: Villarreal (Spain), AEK Athens (Greece), Fiorentina (Italy), Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic) & Elfsborg (Sweden).
Group D: FC Basel (Switzerland), Hamburg (Germany), Rennes (France), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) & Brann (Norway).
Group E: Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Sparta Prague (Czech Republic), Spartak Moscow (Russia), Toulouse (France) & FC Zurich (Switzerland).
Group F: Bayern Munich (Germany), Bolton Wanderers (England), Braga (Portugal), Crvena Zvezda (Serbia) & Aris Thessaloniki (Greece).
Group G: Anderlecht (Belgium), Tottenham Hotspur (England), Getafe (Spain), Hapoel Tel-Aviv (Israel) & Aalborg (Denamrk).
Group H: Bordeaux (France), Austria Vienna (Austria), Galatasaray (Turkey), Panionios (Greece) & Helsingborg (Sweden).

[Full UEFA Cup Group Stage Fixtures]

Source: C4 Football Italia / UEFA

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