Hamburger SV, Hertha BSC Berlin and VfB Stuttgart will fly the flag for Germany in the UEFA Cup group stage but Bayer 04 Leverkusen and 1. FSV Mainz bowed out of the competition after the conclusion of the first-round ties.
Having lost 1-0 in the home leg against Bulgarian side PFC CSKA Sofia, 2001/02 UEFA Champions League finalists Leverkusen needed to win in Sofia, but their hopes of progressing evaporated after Moroccan international Mourad Hdiouad latched on to a Hristo Yanev cross to put the tie out of the German team's reach and secure CSKA's passage to the group stage.
Kanouté turns the tide
Sevilla FC ended Mainz's first ever UEFA Cup campaign in Frankfurt courtesy of two unanswered goals from Frédéric Kanouté. The 28-year-old pounced for the first goal of the tie on nine minutes after Mainz goalkeeper Dimo Wache failed to hold onto Javier Saviola's shot and five minutes from half-time he effectively ended Mainz's dream of reaching the group stage when he doubled the visitor's advantage.
Hamburg extended their unbeaten run to 18 games and secured their place in the group stage with a 1-0 win at FC København thanks to an added time penalty from Rafael van der Vaart. Sergej Barbarez had already had a chance to give the visitors the lead from the penalty spot but he saw his kick saved by Jesper Christiansen 12 minutes into the second half.
Hertha comfortably progressed to the group stage after winning 3-1 in Berlin to complete a 4-1 aggregate victory against APOEL FC. Marcelinho opened the scoring with a stunning free-kick after 15 minutes, Nando Rafael made it 2-0 with a neat finish ten minutes later and Ellery Cairo completed the scoring for the German team 14 minutes into the second half. Konstantinos Makridis restored a degree of respectability for their Cypriot opponents with a goal after 76 minutes.
Earlier, Stuttgart became the first side to reach the group stage despite being beaten 1-0 at NK Domžale. The German side looked to be in the driving seat after winning the first leg in the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion 2-0 but Giovanni Trapattoni's side found it hard to come to terms with the waterlogged pitch in Slovenia.
They fell behind as Dalibor Stevanovič collected Ermin Rakovič's pass and struck it past Stuttgart goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand on 16 minutes. However, the home side's hopes of forcing extra time dwindled when Luka Elsner was sent off for a second bookable offence after 65 minutes.
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