Strong opponents for Swiss teams

Swiss teams will meet difficult opponents in the third round of the UEFA Cup Keystone

Grasshoppers Zurich and Servette have both been pitted together with difficult match opponents in the draw for the third round in the UEFA cup in Nyon.

This content was published on November 2, 2001 - 21:22

While Grasshoppers will be up against Leeds United, the Geneva team will face Hertha Berlin. The teams will meet on home soil on November 22.

Even though it will be a tough match for Grasshoppers and Servette, both games will definitely pay out financially as Hertha and Leeds are attractive teams and will guarantee sold-out stadiums.

If one of the two Swiss teams manages to make it through, it will be the first time in 12 years for a Swiss team to take part in the European Cup.

The last time a Swiss team took part in the competition was in 1990, when the Grasshoppers lost against Sampdoria Genua in the quarter-final.

Favourite opponent

"It's quite a tough draw for us but it is quite attractive too because Leeds are one of the favourites of the whole competition," GC manager Georges Perego said after the draw.

"It's along time since we have played against an English team and we are looking very much forward to it. Even though they are a fantastic side, I am convinced that we a chance against them and we are very happy with this draw."

However, GC trainer Hans-Peter Zaugg, who was travelling back from Holland, was a bit more sceptical. "I would have preferred to play against Parma. Leeds is a very difficult opponent and the team is very dynamic," he said.

The Zurich team will be considered a bit of an outsider in the match as the British team reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season and only just missed the qualification in the very last round.

Hertha not in best shape

Servette might have been a bit luckier in the draw than the Zurich team as Hertha Berlin has not been playing at its best recently.

One reason for Hertha's mediocre performance is the fact that some of the team's best players are suffering from injuries. Sebastian Deisler, who will be transferred to Bayern Munich soon, is unlikely to be back on the pitch before the end of the year.

Alex Alves is suffering from a knee injury and it is not yet certain when the Brazilian player will be able to play again.

However, with players like Stefan Beinlich, Michael Preetz and Hungarian goalie Gabor Kiraly, Hertha still poses a great challenge for the Geneva team.

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