Group A: There will be an air of confidence surrounding all but one of the Group A teams on Matchday 2 following victories at the weekend.
Confidence will not be a problem for the sides in UEFA Cup Group A going into Matchday 2 after Hamburger SV, Viking FK, PFC CSKA Sofia and AS Monaco all enjoyed victories at the weekend. SK Slavia Praha were not so fortunate, though, suffering defeat at the Czech top-flight's bottom club, 1. FC Brno, on Monday.
Hamburger SV 1–0 FC Schalke 04
Hamburg rounded off a successful week with a home victory against Schalke on Saturday, Iranian midfielder Mehdi Mahdavikia scoring the only goal on 19 minutes. Hamburg remained third in the Bundesliga, four points behind FC Bayern München and two adrift of Werder Bremen despite being without Rafael van der Vaart (suspended), Guy Demel (ankle and suspension) and Bastian Reinhardt (thigh). Van der Vaart was, however, a key figure in Hamburg's 3-2 victory against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the second round of the German Cup on Tuesday night, the Dutch international's free-kick creating a late winner for Swiss midfielder Raphael Wicky.
"I want to compliment my players on another great performance," said Hamburg coach Thomas Doll after watching his side defeat Schalke. "We controlled the match in the first half and created a string of chances. Sadly we lost our way a bit when Schalke went down to ten men [after Christian Poulsen was sent off] and we failed to kill the match off by scoring the second goal. None the less we took three very important points today."
Viking FK 3-0 Ålesunds FK
Viking clinched fifth place in the Norwegian Tippeligaen with a comfortable win against Aalesund, who were relegated as a result of the defeat. Danish midfielder Allan Gaarde opened the scoring on 20 minutes, slotting in from close range after a nice cross from Peter Kopteff. Robert Mambo Mumba doubled the lead 14 minutes later, latching on to Egil Østenstad's flick. In his last league game before hanging up his boots, Østenstad rounded off his domestic career in perfect fashion by adding the third in added time, tapping in after Allan Borgvardt had unselfishly square when clean through.
"This was a good win after we hadn't won for five league games," said Viking coach Roy Hodgson, whose first-choice goalkeeper Anthony Basso was suspended but is expected to return in time for the trip to Hamburg, although Fredric Lundqvist (heel) and Peter Kovacs (cruciate ligament) remain injured. "We took our chances this time, something we have struggled with lately. This should give us confidence ahead of the game in Hamburg."
1. FC Brno 1-0 SK Slavia Praha
Having rested all of his regular players with the exception of Matej Krajcík and Tomáš Hrdlička for Wednesday's Czech Cup victory against second-division TJ Vítkovice (defender Karel Kratochvíl settling the tie in style with his first-ever goal for Sparta, a sumptuous overhead-kick), coach Karel Jarolím welcomed back his key performers for Monday's trip to Brno, including Karel Piták after a three-game suspension and Michal Švec following a long-term injury absence, although Krajcík was suspended.
Still, that was not enough to prevent Brno, bottom of the First Division, from recording their first league victory of the season at the eleventh attempt. Pavel Mezlík's goal in the third minute ended Slavia's six-game unbeaten run, although the visitors twice saw attempts on goal cleared off the line. "Again we conceded a soft goal in the opening minutes which proved to be decisive," was Jarolím's verdict. Patrik Gedeon and Césareo Victorino are both sidelined with knee injuries.
PFC CSKA Sofia 3-0 PFC Cherno More Varna
Bulgarian international Valentin Iliev is a doubt for CSKA Sofia’s trip to Prague on Thursday after damaging his ankle during his side's 3-0 win over PFC Cherno More Varna. The victory on Saturday, thanks to goals from Emil Gargorov, Yordan Yurukov and Velizar Dimitrov, extended CSKA Sofia’s unbeaten start to the league season to ten games and put them four points clear at the top.
"I am not happy despite the win as we lost another first team player," said coach Miodrag Jesic afterwards. "We will wait for the medical tests and can only hope that Iliev will recover in time". The loss of the defender was the club’s second blow in the space of three days after midfielder Mourad Hdiouad suffered a thigh injury during the 4-3 league win over PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1936 last Wednesday. The Moroccan will be sidelined for at least six weeks.
AS Monaco FC 3–0 AC Ajaccio
For the second successive home game in Ligue 1 since Francesco Guidolin became coach, Monaco turned in a 3-0 victory. After the win over FC Metz two weeks ago this Saturday they defeated AC Ajaccio, getting their first goal in the first half of a league game this season in the process. Ernesto Chevantón’s 38th minute strike was later added to by Gaël Givet and Jaroslav Plašil as Monaco moved up to sixth in the table.
"It was our best game since I took charge," Guidolin said afterwards. The Italian will be grateful his team are not involved on Matchday 2 however, such are the injury problems he currently faces. Flavio Roma (groin), Patrice Evra (eye), Sébastien Squilaci (thigh), Eric Cubilier (knee), Olivier Kapo (ankle) and Emmanuel Adebayor (groin) all missed the game at the weekend. Meanwhile, Monaco secured their place in the last 16 of the French League Cup with a 1-0 midweek win over Ligue 2 side Dijon FCO.