The UEFA Cup resumes tonight with 16 clubs vying for a place in the quarter-finals.
In France, a meeting between Auxeree and France, see a reunion of old friends Gerard Houllier and Guy Roux. Unfortunately for the home side, leading striker Djibril Cisse is suspended, although Benjamin Mwaruwari is useful replacement.
Cisse’s English counterpart Michael Owen, has an extra incentive to get on the score sheet tonight. With 19 goals, the England striker is just one goal short of Ian Rush’s all-time European scoring record for Liverpool.
The winner of this game faces either Celtic or Stuttgart in the last 8.The Scottish champions go into the game without Henrik Larsson, who has a broken jaw. Fellow striker John Hartson is suspended and further bad news for Martimn O’Neill’s side came with an injury to goalkeeper Magnus Hedman, who twisted his knee. Opponents Stuttgart, have won four of the last five matches and have no injury concerns ahead of tonight’s match.
Germany’s other representative, Hertha Berlin, are without defender Arne Friedrich for their tie with Boavista. Also missing is centre-back Marko Rehmer. Boavista travel with Yuri likely to deputise for the suspended Luiz Claudio.
The winners will face either Malaga or AEK. For Malaga, there are doubts over Dario Silva, while Sandro and Fernando Sanz are suspended. Former Sevilla man Vassilios Tsartas could start for the visitors, but wing-back Grigorios Georgatos has ‘flu and Mihalis Kasapis, Milen Petkov and Konstantinos Katsouranis are injured.
Greek league leaders Panathinaikos have no injury worries ahead of their tie with Anderlecht, as coach Sergio Markarian welcomes back Giourkas Seitaridis, Giorgios Karagounis, Angelos Basinas and Emmanuel Olisadebe from injury and suspension. Anderlecht striker Gilles de Bilde misses out with a knee problem.
The victors will meet play either Porto or Denizlispor in the next round. For Porto, Jorge Costa is back in defence while Dmitri Alenichev could come into midfield.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s other represenatives Besiktas, are without suspended striker Ilhan Mansiz for their visit to Slavia Praha.
In the night’s other game, Lazio entertain Wisla Krakow. Both teams are have injury doubts, with Lazio’s Dejan Stankovic out with a twisted ankle, while team-mate Stefano Fiore has a foot problem and could join Simone Inzaghi and Bernardo Corradi on the sidelines. Wisla, have one major concern: striker Maciej Zurawski has been suffering from a stomach strain.
Hertha v Boavista
Panathinaikos v Anderlecht
Auxerre v Liverpool
Lazio v Wisla