All set for group stage draw
Tuesday, 4 October 2005
The draw for the UEFA Cup group stage will take place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Tuesday. Forty teams await their fate as procedures get under way at 12.00CET.
The first round was completed last Thursday night, when a number of famous names experienced contrasting fortunes. Holders PFC CSKA Moskva won through in convincing fashion, completing a 6-2 aggregate triumph against FC Midtjylland, but the side they defeated in Lisbon in May, Sporting Clube de Portugal, failed to progress. Swedish team Halmstads BK overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit to win 3-2 at the Estßdio JosÚ Alvalade and advance on away goals following a gripping 4-4 draw.
Two recent winners also saw their 2005/06 European campaigns reach an early conclusion, AFC Rapid Bucuresti ousting 2002 champions Feyenoord 2-1 overall, while Norway's Troms° IL eliminated Galatasaray SK, who lifted the trophy in 2000. The likes of Bayer 04 Leverkusen - winners in 1988, Everton FC, FK Partizan and FK Austria Wien, semi-finalists last term, also bowed out, although the other side to lose in the last four in 2004/05, AZ Alkmaar, scored twice in the final eleven minutes to knock out FC Krylya Sovetov Samara on away goals following a thrilling 6-6 draw. There were more comfortable victories for AS Roma, US CittÓ di Palermo, AS Monaco FC and RC Strasbourg, among others.
Top seeds CSKA
France are represented by five teams, while Italy, Russia, Germany, Romania and Bulgaria have three clubs still in contention. The qualifiers have been divided into five pools of eight sides based on their UEFA coefficient. CSKA Moskva are top seeds, and Troms° bottom. A team from each seeding pool will be assigned to a group, although clubs from the same national association cannot be pitted together.
When the draw concludes - with eight sections of five teams - a computer draw will take place to determine the fixture schedule with factors such as stadium clashes and climatic conditions, as it is not possible to play in some northern countries in mid-December, taken into account.
Each club will play two matches at home and two away on the following dates: 20 October, 3 November, 24 November, 30 November/1 December, 14/15 December. The winners, runners-up and third-placed sides from each group progress to the last 32 where they are joined by the eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League group stage. At this point, the traditional two-game format is used with the exception of the final. The competition climaxes at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven on 10 May 2006.