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UEFA Cup draw (

4 okt 2006 - Source:

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The draw for the UEFA Cup group stage took place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Tuesday. AZ and sc Heerenveen have been drawn against tough opponents, who may be major obstacles, but Ajax and Feyenoord officials were content with the draw. AZ draw against holders SevillaAZ and Heerenveen face tough tests in the UEFA Cup group stage after being drawn to play formidable opponents. AZ in particular face fierce opposition. Yet the groups give chances to all four competing clubs to reach the next stage. AZ were drawn against Sevilla, who won last season’s final in the Philips Stadium, after they had beaten Middlesbrough 4-0 in an entertaining game. Sevilla are having another great campaign and are third in the Spanish Primera División. The gap with joint leaders Barcelona and Valencia is just one point. AZ will also meet Grasshoppers, who top the table in Switzerland, Slovan Liberec, the current runners-up in the Czech league and Sporting Braga, who are fourth in the table in Portugal. FC Porto suffered their first defeat of the season against Braga on Monday. Ajax, Feyenoord, HeerenveenAjax do not face a daunting challenge. Espanyol have only earned four points from five games in Spain. Austria Wien clinched the title in Austria last season, but are currently eighth in their domestic league. Sparta Praag are third in the Czech Republic, but the gap with the leaders is huge. SV Zulte Waregem occupy the fifteenth place in the Belgian First Division. Feyenoord had a fair draw: they will meet stubborn Blackburn Rovers, AS Nancy, third in the French league, Wisla Kraków, third in the Polish league and FC Basel who have moved to a mid-table position in the Swiss table. Heerenveen will face an uphill battle, as they meet Osasuna, RC Lens, Parma and Odense BK. The Danish club stunningly eliminated Hertha BSC and are currently second in their domestic league behind top-of-the-table FC Copenhagen. Osasuna surprisingly finished fourth in the Primera División last season. Lens have been a top side in France for many years, but had a poor start to the campaign. The same goes for Parma, who have earned only one point from five games. There are four matches per club in each group, with two at home and two away against different opposition. The top three teams from each group will progress to the knockout stages.The 24 qualifiers will be joined by the eight clubs who finish third in their Champions League groups. Group C: AZ, Sevilla (Spain), Slovan Liberec (Czech Republic), Grasshoppers (Switzerland), Sporting Braga (Portugal). Group D: SC HEERENVEEN, Parma (Italy), RC Lens (France), Osasuna (Spain), Odense BK (Denmark). Group E: FEYENOORD, FC Basel (Switzerland), Wislaw Krakow (Poland), Blackburn Rovers (England), Nancy (France). Group F: AJAX, Sparta Prague (Czech Republic), Espanyol (Spain), Austria Wien (Austria), SV Zulte Waregem (Belgium).