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Stuttgart back on track in Germany

Published: Monday 8 November 2004, 9.23CET
Group G: VfB Stuttgart and SL Benfica both romped to 4-0 wins following their Matchday 2 encounter. features

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Published: Monday 8 November 2004, 9.23CET

Stuttgart back on track in Germany

Group G: VfB Stuttgart and SL Benfica both romped to 4-0 wins following their Matchday 2 encounter.
VfB Stuttgart and SL Benfica both romped to 4-0 wins this weekend following their UEFA Cup Group G encounter, but SC Heerenveen and NK Dinamo Zagreb were held and KSK Beveren lost at home.

Stuttgart moved to within a point of Bundesliga leaders VfL Wolfsburg as they ended a run of three straight league defeats with a win against FC Hansa Rostock. Matthias Sammer fielded the same side that cruised past Benfica 3-0 to maintain Stuttgart's Group G lead, with Silvio Meissner and Kevin Kuranyi scoring against Rostock before half-time and Cacau and Horst Heldt's penalty completing the scoring. However, defender Markus Babbel departed after 43 minutes with a foot complaint, midfield player Zvonimir Soldo was taken off at half-time due to a calf injury and Andreas Hinkel is out for an undetermined period after damaging his hamstring.

Recovering from their defeat by Stuttgart, Benfica claimed a victory against Vitória FC that moved them a point clear at the top of the Portuguese SuperLiga with goals from Azar Karadas, Tomislav Šokota, Geovanni and Simão Sabrosa. However, striker Nuno Gomes suffered a sprained left knee midway through the first half in a challenge with opposition goalkeeper Marco Tábua and is a doubt for the Matchday 3 visit of NK Dinamo Zagreb on 25 November.

Heerenveen, not in action on Matchday 2, drew 0-0 with RKC Waalwijk on Saturday and fell to fifth in the Eredivisie, overtaken by AFC Ajax. Striker Victor Sikora missed the match because of an in-growing toenail, while goalkeeper Boy Waterman and defender Said Bakkati remained sidelined with knee injuries. Bakkati hopes to be back before Stuttgart visit on 25 November but Waterman may not return until the new year.

Dinamo Zagreb
Having defeated Beveren 6-1 to get their group campaign off to a superb start, Dinamo's mixed domestic form continued as they were held 1-1 at NK Osijek and remained fifth in the Croatian First League. Eduardo Da Silva claimed his sixth goal in four games 16 minutes from time to cancel out a first-half Karlo Primorac effort. Striker Veldin Karic's left ankle injury meant Dario Zahora retained his place, having scored twice against Beveren.

Still in shock from the loss at Dinamo that left them without a point in the group after two games, Beveren were defeated 2-0 at home by KRC Genk and are down to 12th in the Belgian First Division. Defender Abdoulaye Diawara is out for at least three months with a broken ankle bone and torn ligaments, while striker Constant Kipre is still recovering from a torn calf muscle and is not expected to return until after the winter break.

Last updated: 23/11/04 11.18CET

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