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UEFA Cup showdown

Quarter-final field littered with high-calibre names

Bayern’s ultimately comfortable 6-2 aggregate victory over RSC Anderlecht, achieved with a crushing 5-0 win in Brussels and a 2-1 reverse at home, means the Reds are through to the last eight in a European club competition for the second season in a row.

In the draw for the next round, to be held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon (Switzerland) at 2 pm CET on Friday, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men are bound to be paired with stern opposition as they continue their pursuit of a place in the final, scheduled for 14 May in Manchester.

Hoping for Italians

“There’s no team I particularly want. We’re aiming for the final, so it makes no difference who we’re drawn to play,” Hitzfeld explained, although he did declare a preference in one other area: “I’d like the first game away from home, it’s a psychological advantage.”

General manager Uli Hoeneß would like to see Munich face AC Fiorentina. “They’d be great opponents,” Hoeneß declared. Luca Toni’s former club squeezed into the last eight on penalties at Everton’s expense after both clubs won their home fixtures 2-0.

Getafe and St Petersburg through

PSV Eindhoven also needed penalties to edge out Tottenham Hotspur after their tie ended level on aggregate, both clubs winning 1-0 away from home. Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg go into the hat after overcoming a 3-1 away defeat to Olympique Marseille with a 2-0 home win, while Spanish top flight outfit Getafe impressively booked their place by eliminating Lisbon giants Benfica.

An all-German showdown is a possibility in the last eight after Bayer Leverkusen, currently lying fourth in the Bundesliga, narrowly defeated league rivals Hamburger SV on away goals. The men from the Rhineland lost 3-2 in the northern port city on Wednesday, but qualified by virtue of a 1-0 home win last week.

Rangers and Sporting finish the job

In Thursday night’s remaining ties, Werder Bremen defeated Scottish leaders Glasgow Rangers 1-0 at the Weser stadium but go out of the competition after the Scots won the first leg 2-0 at Ibrox, while Sporting Lisbon ended English interest in this season's UEFA Cup with a 1-0 home win against Bolton Wanderers to seal a 2-1 aggregate victory.

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