Tuesday, October 03, 2006

UEFA Cup Group Stage Draw

The UEFA Cup draw has been made and it’s a case of could have been worse for Spurs. Having not played in Europe during the previous 5 seasons there was no chance of the club being seeded, despite having won the competition 3 times (UEFA merged the Cup Winners Cup with the UEFA Cup after the 1999/2000 season), so the path to Hampden Park in May was always going to be a tough one. The dates are as follows:

Thursday 19 October - Besiktas (Turkey) (A)
Thursday 2 November - Club Brugge (Belgium) (H)
Thursday 23 November - Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Germany) (A)
Thursday 14 December - Dinamo Bucuresti (Romania) (H)

The stand out ties are the away games to Besiktas and Leverkusen, both of which seem quite daunting at this stage. The fact is though that the top 3 teams in each group go through, so six points should be enough to see us into to the next round, and that means winning the home games against Brugge and Dinamo. Anything gained in Turkey and Germany would therefore be a bonus, and a way of winning the group.

Each of those four teams would have been watching the draw thinking “not Tottenham Hotspur, please not Tottenham Hotspur” as we were by far the biggest team in pot 5, if not the competition itself, and it shows what a mockery the UEFA draw is. The bookies still have us as second favourites to win the trophy behind Seville, and in Dimitar Berbatov, we have a player that knows our main rivals for the group, Bayer Leverkusen, inside-out as that’s where Spurs plucked him from for €15m in May. Spurs should also have Lennon and Malbranque flying for a least the last two games, and so long as we don’t get struck down with further injuries, we should sail through.

Here’s to some more of those Glory, Glory nights.

The Waddler.