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Sammer time for Benfica

Published: Monday 1 November 2004, 18.54CET
Group G: Matthias Sammer's VfB Stuttgart welcome SL Benfica to the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion on Thursday. features

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Published: Monday 1 November 2004, 18.54CET

Sammer time for Benfica

Group G: Matthias Sammer's VfB Stuttgart welcome SL Benfica to the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion on Thursday.

NK Dinamo Zagreb kick off their UEFA Cup campaign at home against KSK Beveren on Thursday, while Group G heavyweights VfB Stuttgart and SL Benfica, the big winners on Matchday 1, meet at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion.

Stuttgart face visiting Benfica looking to reverse a run of three league defeats in seven days that has seen Matthias Sammer's side drop from first to third in the Bundesliga. Since opening their Group G campaign with a 5-1 triumph at Beveren on Matchday 1, Stuttgart have lost 2-0 away against SC Freiburg, 2-1 against visitors Werder Bremen and 3-2 in Gelsenkirchen against FC Schalke 04. Defender Heiko Gerber is unlikely to face Benfica because of a shoulder injury, but midfield players Silvio Meissner and Horst Heldt should return after sitting out the defeat by Schalke because of minor knocks.

Benfica captain Simão Sabrosa celebrated his 25th birthday by scoring a dramatic free-kick deep into added time to earn his side a 1-1 draw away against Gil Vicente FC on Sunday. That was enough to keep Benfica a point clear of FC Porto. Benfica coach Giovanni Trapattoni played central defender Euripedes Amoreirinha at right-back in place of Portuguese international Miguel, who is likely to miss the trip to Stuttgart because of a muscle injury in his left leg. Paulo Almeida played in midfield in place of injured anchorman Petit, who is also suffering a muscle strain. Nuno Gomes, who scored twice in the 4-2 win at home against SC Heerenveen on Matchday 1, started up front against Gil Vicente ahead of Croatian striker Tomislav Šokota, who stepped down to the substitutes' bench after scoring twice in the 3-1 midweek Portuguese Cup win against Clube Oriental de Lisboa. Striker Mantorras is still injured, and though centre-half Eduardo Alcides is back in full training, the match against Stuttgart has come too soon for him to feature.

Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo Zagreb begin their Group G campaign with the visit of Beveren boosted by their best win of a difficult season, 3-0 against NK Pula 1856. Dinamo, fifth after 13 rounds of the Croatian league and six points behind leaders NK Inter Zaprešic, were again indebted to the brilliance of in-form striker Eduardo Da Silva, who scored twice for the second match in succession. Substitute Dario Zahora scored Dinamo's third after replacing the injured Veldin Karic, who is a doubt for Thursday's tie.

Beveren will be without defender Diabis Diawara for the rest of the Group G campaign after the Ivorian broke his ankle and tore ligaments during Saturday's 3-1 win over FC Brussels. The 23-year-old's injury marred an otherwise excellent day for the Belgian First Division side, goals from Emmanuel Eboué, Alain Koudou and Seydou Kanté taking them to eleventh in the table. Constant Kipre will also miss the trip to Zagreb because of a torn calf muscle as Beveren look to bounce back from the punishing 5-1 home defeat handed out by Stuttgart.

Heerenveen, who do not play on Matchday 2, fought back from 2-1 down to win 4-2 away against local rivals FC Den Bosch on Sunday to go fourth in the Eredivisie. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar equalised for the visiting side with eleven minutes remaining before goals from Yuri Rose and Georgios Samares in the final three minutes made sure of the points. Goalkeeper Boy Waterman and defender Saïd Bakkati were again missing through injury, but both should be available for the Matchday 3 fixture at home against Stuttgart on 25 November.

Last updated: 02/11/04 14.34CET

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