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Udinese signal European ambition

Published: Tuesday 3 May 2005, 2.55CET
Udinese Calcio are one of several lower-profile teams eyeing a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.

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Published: Tuesday 3 May 2005, 2.55CET

Udinese signal European ambition

Udinese Calcio are one of several lower-profile teams eyeing a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.
FC Bayern München and Chelsea FC will return to the UEFA Champions League as domestic title-holders next season after clinching silverware on Saturday. But behind them the race for qualifying places is providing a thrilling climax to the European season.

Udinese challenge
In Serie A, FC Internazionale Milano should hold on to third position, but the battle for the fourth qualification spot is intense. Udinese Calcio, UEFA Intertoto Cup winners in 2000, went level with UC Sampdoria on Sunday after defeating Atalanta BC, and are now in direct competition with the Genoese side as they bid to enter the European Champion Clubs' Cup for the first time.

Sampdoria hopeful
The two teams meet at the Stadio Friuli on 15 May in a match that could determine which makes the Champions League third qualifying round. Sampdoria, 1990 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners, made quite an impact on their only European Cup appearance, reaching the final in 1991/92 before going down 1-0 to FC Barcelona.

Everton return
In England, 1985 Cup Winners' Cup winners Everton FC are still fending off rivals Liverpool FC in fourth, despite losing against Fulham FC on Saturday, as they contemplate their first European Cup campaign since 1970/71 when they went as far as the quarter-finals. Everton were domestic champions in 1985 and 1987 but were denied entry because of the European ban on English sides.

Spanish race
Sevilla FC and Villarreal CF occupy third and fourth places respectively in Spain, but the race for the Champions League qualifying spots looks certain to go to the wire. Fourth position in particular is wide open, with Valencia CF, RCD Espanyol and Real Betis Balompié all mounting serious challenges.

Villarreal push
Villarreal have won the Intertoto Cup in the past two seasons and reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals last term but like Udinese, they have never featured in Europe's premier club competition. Sevilla were quarter-finalists in their only European Cup campaign in 1957/58.

Second chance
The second-placed teams in Germany and France, FC Schalke 04 and LOSC Lille Métropole, will be eager to have another crack at the Champions League. Both have had one previous attempt - in 2001/02 - but neither got beyond the first group stage.

The following list is subject to ratification by the individual national associations

Provisional 2005/06 UEFA Champions League - at 2 May
Teams in bold already assured of involvement
IOC Stage Club Domestic position
Grp 2004/05 winners n/a
ESP Grp FC Barcelona 1
ESP Grp Real Madrid CF 2
ESP Q3 Sevilla FC 3
ESP Q3 Villarreal CF 4
ENG Grp Chelsea FC 1
ENG Grp Arsenal FC 2
ENG Q3 Manchester United FC 3
ENG Q3 Everton FC 4
ITA Grp AC Milan 1
ITA Grp Juventus FC 2
ITA Q3 FC Internazionale Milano 3
ITA Q3 UC Sampdoria/Udinese Calcio 4
GER Grp FC Bayern München 1
GER Grp FC Schalke 04 2
GER Q3 VfB Stuttgart 3
FRA Grp Olympique Lyonnais 1
FRA Grp LOSC Lille Métropole 2
FRA Q3 AS Monaco FC 3
POR Grp SL Benfica 1
POR Grp Sporting Clube de Portugal 2
POR Q3 FC Porto 3
GRE Grp Panathinaikos FC 1
GRE Q3 AEK Athens FC 2
NED Grp PSV Eindhoven 1
NED Q3 AFC Ajax 2
CZE Grp AC Sparta Praha 1
CZE Q3 FK Teplice 2
TUR Q3 Fenerbahçe SK 1
TUR Q2 Galatasaray SK 2
SCO Q3 Celtic FC 1
SCO Q2 Rangers FC 2
BEL Q3 Club Brugge KV 1
BEL Q2 RSC Anderlecht 2
SUI Q3 FC Basel 1893 1
SUI Q2 FC Thun 2
UKR Q3 FC Shakhtar Donetsk 1
UKR Q2 FC Dynamo Kyiv 2
NOR Q3 Rosenborg BK 1
NOR Q2 Vålerenga IF 2
POL Q2 Wisla Kraków 1
ISR Q2 Maccabi Haifa FC 1
AUT Q2 SK Rapid Wien 1
YUG Q2 FK Partizan 1
BUL Q2 PFC CSKA Sofia 1
RUS Q2 FC Lokomotiv Moskva 1
DEN Q2 Brøndby IF 1
CRO Q2 HNK Hajduk Split 1
SWE Q2 Malmö FF 1
HUN Q2 Debreceni VSC 1
ROM Q1 FC Steaua Bucuresti 1
SVK Q1 FC Artmedia Bratislava 1
SLO Q1 NK Gorica 1
CYP Q1 Anorthosis Famagusta FC 1
MOL Q1 FC Sheriff 1
LAT Q1 FC Skonto 1
FIN Q1 FC Haka 1
BHZ Q1 NK Zrinjski 1
GEO Q1 FC Dinamo Tbilisi 1
MKD Q1 FK Rabotnicki 1
LIT Q1 FBK Kaunas 1
BLS Q1 FC Dinamo Minsk 1
ISL Q1 FH Hafnarfjördur 1
MLT Q1 Sliema Wanderers FC 1
IRL Q1 Shelbourne FC 1
ARM Q1 FC Pyunik 1
WAL Q1 Total Network Solutions FC 1
LIE
ALB Q1 KF Tirana 1
NIR Q1 Glentoran FC 1
EST Q1 FC Levadia Tallinn 1
LUX Q1 F91 Dudelange 1
AZE Q1 PFC Neftchi 1
FAR Q1 HB Tórshavn 1
KAZ Q1 FC Kairat Almaty 1
AND Q1
SMR Q1

Last updated: 04/05/05 17.38CET

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