Football: Kovacevic to lead Juve's attack

JUVENTUS, the Uefa Cup favourites, are set to unleash Darko Kovacevic, on Olympiakos, the Greek champions, for their tricky away trip tonight.

The former Sheffield Wednesday striker has scored seven times in the Uefa Cup this season and his coach Carlo Ancelotti should continue to employ him in attack even as he rotates his squad.

The match is the second in the most important week of the Italian side's season so far. Having beaten Milan 3-1 on Sunday, Juve will be hoping for a good result in Greece in preparation for this weekend's meeting with title rivals Lazio.

Midfielder Edgar Davids returns to action after sitting out the Milan game through suspension, but Ancelotti has not even taken Antonio Conte to Greece - deciding his captain should not risk injury ahead of the Lazio game

Goalkeeper Edwin Van der Saar played against Olympiakos in the Champions' League when he was with Ajax last year and finished on the losing side in Greece before winning the second leg in Amsterdam.

"They're a strong side, who have been strengthened further after buying Giovanni and (Zlatko) Zahovic," he said. "We have a really difficult month ahead of us in which we can't make any mistakes."

Giovanni, the Brazilian international midfielder, joined from Barcelona in the summer and he will have to assume greater responsibility as Zahovic has yet to return from Slovenian international duty.

While the Italian sides continue to dominate European competition, the French have struggled since Marseille's Champions' League triumph in 1993.

Although Paris St-Germain won the Cup-Winners' Cup in 1997, success in the Uefa Cup and Champions' League has been limited.

The new-look Lyon side may be the team to break the run and in Sonny Anderson they have a striker who terrorised European defences while at Barcelona.

The Brazilian was signed for pounds 12million during the summer and has guided his team to the top of the table with 12 goals in 16 matches.

They take on Germany's Werder Bremen who stumbled into the third round on away goals after drawing 0-0 and 2-2 with the Norwegian side Viking.

Lyon have a doubt over their veteran German international midfielder, Dieter Eilts, who will undergo a late fitness test before coach Thomas Schaaf names his line-up.

Eilts recently underwent a knee operation and his inclusion would be a major boost for Schaaf whose side currently lie fifth in the Bundesliga. "At the moment I assume he will be fit to play against Lyon," he said. "He has been training really well so far."

Ajax will be looking to gain a healthy first-leg advantage over Real Mallorca at the Amsterdam Arena in the first leg of their tie, while the Kaiserslautern coach, Christophe Daum, could enhance his reputation and his chances of becoming the new Real Madrid boss by leading his side to victory at Lens.

The return legs of the matches take place on 7 and 9 December.

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