MADRID -- Leeds United will have both
recent history and current form against it on Thursday as the club
limps back into UEFA Cup action in one of two fourth-round first-
leg clashes between Dutch and British opposition.
Leeds, England's last remaining representatives in the
competition, has slipped from top of the premier league table
to sixth on a run of three defeats and two draws in its last
PSV, by contrast, will be buoyed by a thumping 4-0 win over
NEC Nijmegen at the weekend, a result that took the club to third in
the Dutch league, within three points off leaders Ajax.
That impressive display should leave PSV confident of a
successful follow-up to its 8-3 aggregate victory over Leeds
in the UEFA Cup in 1995.
The Dutch side will be hit by injuries to key players,
Goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus (elbow) and Jan Heintze (knee)
are both out, while defender Kevin Hofland is also expected to
miss the game after suffering a concussion.
Leeds has hardly been impressive in the early rounds of the
UEFA Cup, making hard work of Maritimo, Troyes and Grasshoppers.
The club has not played since February 9, though, and
midfielder Eirik Bakke thinks the squad will have benefited from
"PSV away will be one of the hardest games of the season but
we've had a good break now and are looking forward to it," said
The prize for victory over the two legs is a quarterfinal
against either Feyenoord or Rangers, who play their first leg in
Rangers are involved in post-Christmas European action for
the first time in nine years after scraping through on a penalty
shootout following two goalless draws against Paris St. Germain.
Since then Alex McLeish has become manager with Dick
Advocaat moving into a director of football role and the club is
unbeaten in two months under the new regime.
Ronald de Boer has a foot injury and is doubtful, while
free-scoring Shota Arveladze is ineligible.
Feyenoord lost the Dutch league leadership over the weekend,
as it went down 2-1 to Vitesse Arnhem.
Coach Bert van Marwijk will be without defender Ferry de
Haan (groin), while defender Christian Gyan will have a late
test on his knee injury.
The third Dutch side in the competition Roda JC Kerkrade
went down 1-0 at home to AC Milan in one of two matches brought
forward to Tuesday.
Inter Milan, three times UEFA Cup winners in the 1990s, and
Parma, who won the competition in 1995 and 1999, will both look
for similarly positive results in their matches on Thursday.
Inter will again be without Brazil forward Ronaldo for its
match against AEK Athens at the San Siro.
Former Olympiakos defender Grigoris Georgatos may be rested
against his fellow countrymen with Argentina defender Nelson
Vivas taking over.
The winners of that tie look set to face Spain's only
representative in the competition Valencia, after it beat
Servette of Switzerland 3-0 at Mestalla on Tuesday.
Parma arrives in Israel on Wednesday night for its game
against Hapoel Tel Aviv after UEFA said the match could go ahead
despite security fears. The Italians will receive a secure
passage directly from their aircraft to the hotel.
Hapoel, the first Israeli side to reach the fourth round of
a major European competition, is at full strength and expects a
sellout crowd in excess of 17,000 at its Bloomfield Stadium.
Parma is set to rest first-choice strikers Marco Di Vaio
and Hakan Sukur, with Emiliano Bonazzoli and Marco Machionni
likely to stand in.
The winners of that tie will take on AC Milan or Roda in the
The two French sides in the competition, Olympique Lyon and
Lille, will meet in the quarterfinals if they come through
their fourth round ties.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, boosted by his team's 3-0
win over PSG on Sunday, is confident his team, who takes on
Slovan Liberec of the Czech Republic, can lift the UEFA Cup.
"If I had to chose, I'd rather win the UEFA Cup than the
French league," he said. "Let's face it, this year we can win
the UEFA Cup."
Lyon's recent home form has been impressive -- four wins and
14 goals scored -- but it could be without Eric Carriere
because of a foot injury.
Lille scored its first victory in 2002 at Nantes on
Saturday but has looked too weak in recent weeks to be a real
threat to German league leaders Borussia Dortmund.
The club has been depleted by injuries since the end of the
winter break while coach Vahid Halilhodzic has been rumored to
be on the way out.