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Aachen look for Athens triumph

Published: Monday 13 December 2004, 10.16CET
Group H: TSV Alemannia Aachen hope to clinch the final qualifying place at AEK Athens FC. features

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Published: Monday 13 December 2004, 10.16CET

Aachen look for Athens triumph

Group H: TSV Alemannia Aachen hope to clinch the final qualifying place at AEK Athens FC.

The major issue to be decided in UEFA Cup Group H is the destination of the final qualifying berth with TSV Alemannia Aachen needing to beat bottom side AEK Athens FC in Greece to edge out FC Zenit St. Peterburg who have completed their fixtures. In France, the game between LOSC Lille Métropole and Sevilla FC will determine who tops the group.

The Spanish team came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at RC Deportivo La Coruña in dramatic circumstances as Julio Baptista headed an added-time equaliser. Carlitos Dominguez had put Sevilla ahead but a spectacular strike from Sergio González and a Lionel Scaloni goal four minutes from time had swung things Depor's way. Portuguese striker Ariza Makukula remains sidelined with the knee injury suffered at the start of the year.

Coming back from a one-goal deficit to defeat FC Nantes Atlantique 2-1 at home enabled Lille to close the gap on French Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Lyonnais to three points. Another bonus came with the absence of any injuries from the game.

Russian side Zenit lost just one of their four Group H matches and will qualify unless Aachen can win in Greece. They finished fourth in their domestic league.

The qualifying hopefuls lost a tight battle away to SpVgg Greuther Fürth 3-2 and with it conceded third place in the German 2. Bundesliga to their opponents. Aachen twice recovered from falling behind, with Cristian Fiel and Jens Scharping firing equalising goals, the second ten minutes from time. However, with seven minutes remaining Aachen conceded the winner as Sascha Rösler found the net. Coach Dieter Hecking sent on stalwart Willi Landgraf after the interval for Dennis Brinkmann, and Daniel Gomez replaced Kai Michalke late in the second half. Their first defeat in six games left Hecking with only the consolation that his team picked up no injuries.

The Athens side have no chance of progressing to the next stage but they will be looking for their first points in the section when Aachen visit. Fernando Santos's team remain undefeated in the Greek league, drawing 1-1 away to Xanthi FC at the weekend. They suffered the blow of losing left-back Stavros Giorgiopoulos with a fractured leg and he will be sidelined for at least four months. Nikolaos Georgeas will take over from him, while striker Alessandre Soares and defender Kofi Amponsah are rated doubtful. Against that, Santos has both Nikos Kostenoglou and Christos Kontis back and can also call on Bruno Alves, who was suspended against Sevilla.

Last updated: 14/12/04 11.15CET

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