Bayern draw leaves Bolton facing uphill battle to qualify

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The Independent Online

Bolton's trip to face Bayern Munich early next month promises to be the highlight of the Uefa Cup group stage after yesterday's draw in Nyon.

Sammy Lee's struggling Trotters will be underdogs for the match at the Allianz Arena on 8 November as the Bavarians are currently racing away from their rivals in the Bundesliga. Fired by the prolific Italy striker Luca Toni, Bayern are five points clear at the summit and their form is in stark contrast to that of Bolton who have struggled in the Premier League.

But chairman Phil Gartside believes a glamorous trip to Munich might be just what they need.

"Being greedy you want to play Bayern Munich at home, because you get a better TV deal from broadcasters," he said. "When you're playing a second-rate team from Macedonia [Rabotnicki] and 20,000 people turn up it probably spells out that people are interested.

"We all said Bayern Munich in the group would be fantastic, so we're all very happy."

Tottenham, who reached last season's quarter-finals before losing out to Seville, face more Spanish opposition, in the form of Getafe – currently languishing second bottom of La Liga after enduring an even worse start than Spurs. They will visit White Hart Lane on matchday one.

The Londoners will also face Anderlecht, the Belgian side they defeated on penalties in the 1984 Uefa Cup final, with minnows AaB Aalborg and Hapoel Tel Aviv providing the other opposition in what looks a favourable draw for under-fire manager Martin Jol.

Jol was happy, saying: "I am pretty satisfied. You can only assess it on paper at the moment and my feeling is that it could have been a lot tougher for us. Anderlecht away will be a hard one, but it is in the final game for us and hopefully we will have done the business by then. They have got fanatical supporters, just like we've got, so that should be a special night with the history between the two clubs in this competition."

Everton appear to have no glamour ties to look forward to in Group A – but they arguably have the toughest overall task of the English clubs. David Moyes' side open against Larissa, Blackburn's first-round conquerors, at Goodison Park on 25 October, before a trip to face Bundesliga strugglers Nuremberg two weeks later.

Russian side Zenit St Petersburg are next up on Merseyside before Everton finish with a daunting trip to AZ Alkmaar, quarter-finalists last year.

Uefa Cup groups and fixtures

GROUP A

Everton, AZ Alkmaar, Larissa, Nuremberg, Zenit St Petersburg

Everton fixtures: 25 Oct Larissa (h); 8 Nov Nuremberg (a); 5 Dec Zenit St Petersburg (h); 20 Dec AZ Alkmaar (a). (NB each team plays two home games and two away)

GROUP B

Aberdeen, Atletico Madrid, FC Copenhagen, Panathinaikos, Lokomotiv Moscow

Aberdeen fixtures: 25 Oct Panathinaikos (a); 8 Nov Lokomotiv Moscow (h); 29 Nov Atletico Madrid (a); 20 Dec FC Copenhagen (h).

GROUP C

AEK Athens, Fiorentina, Mlada Boleslav, Villarreal, Elfsborg

GROUP D

SV Hamburger, Dinamo Zagreb, FC Basel, Rennes, SK Brann

GROUP E

Bayer Leverkusen, FC Zurich, Sparta Prague, Spartak Moscow, Toulouse

GROUP F

Bolton, Aris, Bayern Munich, Braga, Red Star Belgrade

Bolton fixtures: 25 Oct Braga (h); 8 Nov Bayern Munich (a); 29 Nov Aris (h); 6 Dec Red Star Belgrade (a).

GROUP G

Tottenham, Aalborg, Anderlecht, Getafe, Hapoel Tel Aviv

Tottenham fixtures: 25 Oct Getafe (h); 8 Nov Hapoel Tel Aviv (a); 29 Nov Aalborg (h); 6 Dec Anderlecht (a).

GROUP H

Austria Vienna, Bordeaux, Galatasaray, Helsingborg, Panionios

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