Thu, Nov 08, 2007 - Page 19 News List

UEFA CUP: Tottenham, Bolton face tough group games

AFP , PARIS

Tottenham and Bolton, struggling in the English Premier League, face tough away dates in the latest round of UEFA Cup group games today.

Spurs are in Israel to take on Hapoel Tel Aviv and the London club will be hoping for a more positive outcome than their last UEFA Cup appearance against Getafe a fortnight ago.

That 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane was marked by the wildfire rumors of Martin Jol's sacking and it duly turned out to be his last in charge.

But in Juande Ramos, the Dutchman's successor, Spurs have the right man on their side in this competition with the expensively acquired Spaniard having won the last two titles as manager of Sevilla.

Hapoel are unbeaten in their last six European games at home but if Spurs feel they have it tough they should spare a thought for Bolton who travel to Bavaria to face the full might of a fully fit Bayern Munich.

French international defender Willy Sagnol was back training with the Bundesliga leaders on Tuesday for the first time in six months after the knee injury he suffered in a Champions League match with AC Milan last April.

With Sagnol taking a pass from Argentinian midfielder Jose Sosa in training, with Oliver Kahn in goal and striker Miroslav Klose looking sharp, this was the first time Bayern have trained with a full squad this season.

"I am pleased that so many players were fit again," coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said.

With all of their big names back, Bolton stand to feel the full wrath of Bayern's 69 million euro (US$99.9 million) summer spending spree.

"The competition is so great now that everyone has to work hard in training, there is even competition for places on the bench," French midfielder Franck Ribery said.

Bayern lead Group F after edging their opening game 3-2 at Red Star Belgrade with Bolton lying second after a 1-1 draw with Portugal's Braga.

The third Premier League side involved in the competition, Everton, are also in Germany to play Nuremberg and the Merseysiders received a pre-match boost on Tuesday when their England international Andrew Johnson ended uncertainty over his future by signing a new five year contract.

The 26-year-old had been linked with a move to Premier League rivals West Ham in January's transfer window.

Club chairman Bill Kenwright said: "We are absolutely delighted, it is fantastic news for Evertonians. This deal further underlines our commitment to keep our best players at our club."

Johnson is an important part of Everton's armory, having scored 12 goals in 40 league games for the club.

Aberdeen, the fourth British club on European duty today, host Lokomotiv Moscow aiming to perform better than a fortnight ago when they equalled their worst ever result in the competition, a 3-0 loss at Panathinaikos.

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