Aussies Looking For European Glory
Seven Socceroos remain in contention for European glory this season after completion of the group stages for both the UEFA Champions League and EUFA Cup.
Seven Socceroos remain in contention for European glory this season after completion of the group stages for both the UEFA Champions League and EUFA Cup. In the UEFA Champions League, Europe-s top club competition, Qantas Socceroo Harry Kewell and his club Liverpool have moved into the final 16 after defeating Greek club Olympiakos in their final group match. This resulted in the Reds finishing second in their group behind last year-s finalists Monaco. The Merseysiders will meet German club Bayer Leverkusen who currently sit eighth in the Bundesliga for a spot in the quarter finals. Should Liverpool reach the final Kewell would be set to become the first Qantas Socceroo to appear in a UEFA Champions League Final. In the UEFA Cup Qantas Socceroo duo Mark Viduka and Mark Schwarzer have helped Middlesborough qualify for the final 32 where they will play Austrian club Grazer AK. Both Schwarzer and Viduka have been in good form for Boro who are currently fifth in the Premier League and once again in contention for a European spot next season. Qantas Socceroo midfielders Marco Bresciano, Vince Grella and their Serie A outfit Parma have also qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup. Despite currently sitting second from bottom in the Serie A, Parma finished third in their group recording two wins and will have a tough time against Group G winners Vfb Stuttgart in the next round with the Germans currently lying third in the Bundesliga. Swiss club Basel featuring Socceroos Scott Chipperfield and Mile Sterjovski has also qualified for the final 32. Despite their current success domestically, Basel only just qualified for the next phase where they will play French club and Group H winners Lille. Basel currently lead the Swiss league by seven points with Scott Chipperfield contributing with four goals and four assists. Other Aussies whose clubs are involved in European action include one of the stars of last year-s Qantas Young Socceroo campaign in goalkeeper Nathan Coe who will be hoping to finally break into the first team squad at PSV Eindhoven for the first time since his off-season move from Inter Milan. Similarly former South Melbourne player Andrew Bourakis will be hoping to experience the glitz and glamour of European football with Panathinaikos in the UEFA Cup. The round of 32 in the UEFA Cup will be played over two legs on the 16th and 24th of February, while the round of 16 Champions League fixtures will be played over two legs on the 22/23 February and 8/9 March 2005.