Last year's winners FC Zenit St. Petersburg are among ten teams holding leads going into the return legs of the UEFA Cup Round of 32 ties this Thursday evening in what is sure to be an exciting night across the continent.
Six games ended in draws last week, but Manchester City FC and Udinese Calcio will be firm favourites to qualify as they both scored twice away to FC København and KKS Lech Poznań respectively. Werder Bremen, FC Dynamo Kyiv and Aston Villa FC, meanwhile, travel to difficult destinations knowing that they must score if they are to have any chance of making it to the next stage. FC Girondins de Bordeaux will also be keen to find the net against Galatasaray AŞ in Istanbul as a win or score draw will suffice for the French side after the first leg ended goalless.
Of the ten teams taking leads into this week's deciding encounters, four of them hold only one-goal advantages. Despite slim victories, though, FC Twente, AFC Ajax and FC Metalist Kharkiv will all be confident of making it to the next round as they recorded invaluable 1-0 wins away to Olympique de Marseille, ACF Fiorentina and UC Sampdoria respectively. Holders Zenit will also take a narrow 2-1 lead to VfB Stuttgart. However, with Stuttgart only needing a 1-0 victory at Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, the tie remains very much in the balance.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Paris Saint-Germain FC have slightly more room to breathe as they secured 2-0 home wins over Tottenham Hotspur FC, twice winners of this tournament, and VfL Wolfsburg respectively. Even stronger favourites to progress are Hamburger SV, Aalborg BK and SC Braga, who all recorded comfortable 3-0 victories in their first legs. Despite lying in the relegation zone in Ligue 1, AS Saint-Etienne also look set to qualify following an impressive 3-1 win at Olympiacos CFP as they continued their eye-catching European campaign. The winners of the ties will know their Round of 16 opposition immediately as the draw for the ties on 12 and 18/19 March has already been made.
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