Domestic battles dominate UEFA Cup semis

Hamburg SV are brimming with confidence ahead of their UEFA Cup semi-final against Werder Bremen on Thursday despite losing a German Cup penalty shootout to their opponents last week, coach Martin Jol said.

"They have yet to beat us. We played a 2-1 in the league and then a 1-1 in the Cup," Jol told reporters. "We will go to Bremen with lots of confidence."

Hamburg midfielder Piotr Trochowski said they wanted revenge for their Cup defeat.

"Bremen are not better than us. Look at where they are in the Bundesliga. We have played a superb season and maybe we will get our revenge in the UEFA Cup."

The northern German derby is not the only domestic battle in the last four.

Ukraine's top two sides meet in the country's capital as Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk extend their long rivalry to European competition.

Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf, whose team are 10th in the Bundesliga, for once does not have any serious injury concerns apart from defender Petri Pasanen who is doubtful for the first leg through a foot injury.

Hamburg's title hopes suffered a blow after a 2-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday left them three points off top spot in fifth place.


Jol has fitness worries over Croatian striker Mladen Petric who needed stitches in a shin injury after the Werder Cup defeat.

Dynamo, who eliminated compatriots Metalist Kharkiv in the last 16, hold a 12-point lead over second-placed Shakhtar in the Ukrainian championship and have a good recent home record against their rivals.

Midfielder Roman Yeryomenko (cold) and forward Artyom Kravets (leg injury) are battling to be fit for the opening leg.

"We hope Yeryomenko's condition is not too serious and he will be ready. Kravets, however, remains a question mark. We want him to examined by doctors abroad -- only then will we be able to give an assessment," Dynamo coach Yuri Syomin told the club's website (

Shakhtar, in their first European semi-final, won the previous league match between the two clubs this season 1-0 in Donetsk in November.

Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu, who signed a new two-year contract after the quarter-final victory over Olympique Marseille, already has one eye on the return leg in Donetsk on May 7 with the Romanian unhappy about the state of the pitch at the club's Olimpiyskyy stadium.

"The pitch at Olimpiyskyy is destroying our play. As a coach, I feel ashamed to make my players perform on a pitch like this," he told the club's website (

"They are unable to launch a decent attack and allow the opponents to keep all 11 men behind the ball. The basis of our play is technique and pace." (Additional reporting by Ron Popeski in Kiev and Karolos Grohmann in Stuttgart: Editing by Sonia Oxley; To comment on this story: