The inaugural UEFA Cup group stage comes to a conclusion this week, with 12 places in Friday's draw (13.45CET) for the round of 32 still available. Twelve teams have already won through ahead of Matchday 5 along with eight sides eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. uefa.com assesses the state of play in each group.
Feyenoord and FC Schalke 04 are already through, but third place is still up for grabs with FC Basel 1893, Heart of Midlothian FC and Ferencvárosi TC all in with a chance. Basel, on four points from three matches, have their fate in their own hands and will advance with victory over Feyenoord on 16 December. Basel could lose and still qualify on goal difference should Hearts, a point behind, draw with Ferencváros. In such an event, Hearts would go through only if Feyenoord beat Basel by four goals or more. Otherwise the Scottish side must win and hope that Basel fail to do so. Meanwhile, Ferencváros, bottom with one point, must win and see Basel lose to have a chance of advancing on goal difference.
FC Steaua Bucuresti are through and Athletic Club Bilbao are best-placed to follow them. They sit level on six points with the Romanians and a draw from their final match at R. Standard de Liège would suffice to take them through. They could even lose and qualify if the other game between Parma FC and Besiktas JK ended in a draw. Standard must win to progress. As for Besiktas, who are above Standard on goal difference, they will advance if they win at Parma FC, and a draw would be enough if Standard failed to win. Parma could also qualify on goal difference at Athletic's expense if they win and Standard beat the Spanish side.
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk have qualified with nine points from their four matches, and will likely be joined Real Zaragoza who have six points. A draw at Club Brugge KV would guarantee them a place in the next round and they could even lose and progress provided FK Austrian Wien did not win at FC Utrecht, who are already eliminated. Brugge and Austria both have four points but the Belgian side are third by virtue of goals scored and so they need only match Austria's result on Matchday 4 to advance.
Newcastle United FC have qualified and look certain to be joined by Sporting Clube de Portugal, even if the Portuguese side lose their final match at St James's Park. Sporting, who will win the group if they beat Newcastle, have a vastly superior goal difference to their rivals, third-placed FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and fourth-placed Panionios NFC, who meet in France. Panionios must win to advance while Sochaux need only avoid defeat. Sochaux could only lose and still qualify if Sporting lost to Newcastle by a massive margin. FC Dinamo Tbilisi are already out.
Middlesbrough FC, FK Partizan and Villarreal CF have all qualified, and only the final standings remain to be decided. Leaders Middlesbrough host Partizan, while Villarreal, level on five points with the Belgrade side, are at home to Egaleo FC, who like S.S. Lazio are already out.
AZ Alkmaar have qualified and will be joined by Rangers FC if the Scottish side - second with six points - avoid defeat at home to AJ Auxerre. Auxerre are two points behind, ahead of Grazer AK on goal difference, and they need only match GAK's result at home against AZ to be sure of qualification, unless there is a drastic change in goal difference. Rangers will only be knocked out if they lose and GAK win, or if Auxerre win by nine goals and the Austrian side draw.
SL Benfica have qualified and VfB Stuttgart will follow them through if they avoid defeat at home to NK Dinamo Zagreb. The German side could lose and still advance if SC Heerenveen fail to win at home to KSK Beveren, who are already out. Dinamo are ahead of Heerenveen on goal difference and are sure to qualify if they match the Dutch club's result against Beveren. A draw will take Heerenveen through should Dinamo lose.
Sevilla FC and LOSC Lille Métropole meet on Matchday 5 having both already qualified, and they will be joined by TSV Alemannia Aachen if the German club win away to AEK Athens FC, who are already out. If Aachen draw, FC Zenit St. Peterburg, who have completed their fixtures, advance instead on goal difference.
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