Swedes dream of the group stage

IF Elfsborg coach Magnus Haglund said reaching the group stage would be like "winning the Allsvenskan" as Sweden's five UEFA Cup contenders resume action.

James Keene celebrates scoring Elfsborg's winner at Dinamo
James Keene celebrates scoring Elfsborg's winner at Dinamo ©Getty Images

IF Elfsborg coach Magnus Haglund said reaching the group stage would be like "winning the Allsvenskan" as Sweden's five UEFA Cup contenders resume action.

'On a par'
The Swedish champions earned one of the best results of the 40 first-leg ties when they came back from FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti with a 2-1 win. Haglund is now excited about reaching the next stage in the competition, saying: "Qualifying for the group stage would be on a par with winning the Allsvenskan. It would be a great experience and we believe in ourselves."

Emergency signing
Having earned a 2-1 win at home against SC Braga, Hammarby also have a lead to defend although injuries to goalkeepers Erland Hellström and Benny Lekström have forced them to take emergency action, signing 30-year-old custodian Magnus Jonsson on a free transfer. "Magnus is experienced, motivated and also eligible so we feel it's the best possible solution," said a club spokesman.

AIK hopeful
A 0-0 draw at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC represented a good first-leg return for AIK Solna, and coach Rickard Norling insists his side's title chase in Sweden will not distract them from the task at hand. "We've got the mental and physical strength to cope," he said. "In Israel we played extremely well defensively and managed to handle their midfielders very well. Now we need to attack to win, but we know they're a good side so we must attack with intelligence"

Long shots
Helsingborgs BK must score at least twice if they are to overcome SC Heerenveen having lost 5-3 in the Netherlands. Defender Erik Wahlstedt said: "It's a very tough task, no doubt, but we managed to score three goals in Holland and if we can do that again and also keep a clean sheet then we're there." The task is even tougher for BK Häcken who are resigned to being knocked out after a 5-0 defeat in the first leg against FC Spartak Moskva. "We'll go out and do our best, but we know it's an impossible mission," said coach Sonny Karlsson.

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