German delight as all four teams advance in UEFA Cup

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By John Bagratuni, dpa Hamburg, December, 20, 2007 (dpa) - SV Hamburg and Nuremberg on Thursday followed Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen into the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup as all German teams survived the group stage.

Hamburg could a afford a 1-1 draw against 10-man Basel of Switzerland. Ivan Ergic scoring for Basel against the flow of play in the 58th, nine minutes after Reto Zanni was sent off. But Ivica Olic got the equalizer for Hamburg in the 73rd.

Nuremberg clinched their place in the round of 32 with a 3-1 victory at Greek side Larissa. Ivan Saenko, Marek Mintal and Angelos Charisteas reversed out Larissa's early lead from Jozef Kozlej.

Munich, Leverkusen (who both qualified Wednesday) and Hamburg topped the final standings in their groups and will be drawn against a third-placed team from the group stage.

Nuremberg came second and will meet a team relegated from the Champions League. Those teams include another German side, Werder Bremen, giving the nation five teams in the event.

The draw for the third round and the round of 16 is on Friday, with the third round to be played February 13/14 and 21.

Hamburg and Basel were qualified for the knockout stages ahead of their final game but the Germans badly wanted to win the group D.

The hosts had chances galore to settle the match in the first half, but Nigel de Jong, Rafael van der Vaart and Olic wasted even the best opportunities.

Hamburg's chances looked even better when Zanni got his marching orders for a second bookable offence in the 49th, but they were then caught out cold in the 58th when Ergic tapped in for Basel's surprise lead.

Olic eventually grabbed the equalizer from short range in the 73rd which assured Hamburg of first place with 10 points. Basel finished with eight points and Brann Bergen of Norway also going through with four points, on goal difference against Dynamo Zagreb whose 1-0 at Stade Rennes was not good enough.

"We should have led early, but these things happen," said Hamburg captain van der Vaart. "But the most important thing is that we won the group."

Nuremberg also fell behind in their game, with bottom club Larissa leading from Kozlej's goalmouth score 11 minutes into the game.

But Saenko levelled shortly before halftime, Mintal tapped in for 2-1 in the 57th and Charisteas' solo assured them of the next round.

The win gave Nuremberg second place in group A with seven points. England's Everton won the group with a perfect 12 points, eliminating AZ Alkmaar with a 3-2 win in the Netherlands as Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg (who were idle) moved on as the third-placed team.

"We were rank outsiders when the group stage began. It is a big surprise that we have made the next round," said Nuremberg coach Hans Meyer.

Scotland's Aberdeen, meanwhile, shot from last to third in group B for a place in the next round with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Denmark's Copenhagen.

James Smith was on target with spectacular volleys in the 47th and 55th. An own goal from Mikael Antonsson and Richard Foster in the 83rd wrapped up the big win.

Atletico Madrid stole first place in the group with a 2-1 winner over Panathinaikos Athens four minutes into stoppage time from Simao's freekick. Both teams were qualified for the next round ahead of the game.

Spain also topped group C as Villareal also beat a Greek side 2-1 in the form of AEK Athens, who went through in third place despite the loss. Fiorentina came second with a 2-1 victory over Mlada Boleslav. dpa


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