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MARTIN ON THE GROUP

Posted on 17 October 2006  - 12:00

The glory, glory nights are back - Martin Jol gives his views on our fixtures in the group stages of the UEFA Cup, hopefully kicking off in Istanbul on Tonight.

The glory, glory nights are back - Martin Jol gives his views on our fixtures in the group stages of the UEFA Cup, hopefully kicking off in Istanbul on Tonight.

Our latest European adventure begins in Turkey's capital city against one of the city's famous three clubs, Besiktas, who along with Galatasaray and Fenerbache have helped take Turkish football to another level in recent years.

Managed by former Fulham boss Jean Tigana and home of ex-United midfielder, Brazilian international Kleberson, Besiktas are currenty third in the Turkish league.

Martin said: "Besiktas are one of the famous clubs of Turkey alongside Fenerbache and Galatasaray and it's a very tough place to go for our first group match.

BESIKTAS TRAVEL ADVICE

Our first home match in the group stages is against one of Europe's most famous footballing names - Club Brugge.

Founded in 1891, this is Club Brugge's 36th European campaign and the 13-time Belgian champions have twice lost in European finals to Liverpool, the UEFA Cup in 1976 and European Cup at Wembley in 1978.

More recently, they have reached the group stages of the Champions League in 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2005-06.

We played Club Brugge in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup back in 1984-85 when we overturned a 2-1 first leg deficit with a 3-0 win at the Lane.

Martin said: "With Anderlecht, Club Brugge are probably one of the two most famous sides in Belgium, with a great history in Europe."

We are back on the road again on November 23 with another huge European name - this time Bayer Leverkusen of Germany's Bundesliga.

Formed in 1904 and UEFA Cup winners in 1988, Dimitar Berbatov helped the club based next to the Rhein near Cologne to the Champions League Final in 2004, where they were beaten by Real Madrid.

"They haven't made the best start in the Bundesliga but they will come back because they have a talented squad," commented Martin. "Everyone knows Dimitar Berbatov played for them and they are another club with a rich history."

Our final group match is against Romanian giants Dinamo Bucharest at the Lane on Thursday December 14 - and it could be the match that matters.

Martin gave this insight. "If you see Dinamo Bucharest, nobody knows too much about them but you have Steaua Bucharest, Rapid Bucharest and Dinamo have beaten them both and are top of the league with 10 wins in 10 games. That is pretty tough.

"This could also be a vital game because it is our final fixture in the group.

"We are at home, we have our crowd and if we can be strong, they will make us stronger. It will be a tough test for anyone coming to White Hart Lane."

Make sure you don't miss out on the matches that help write our famous history - CLICK HERE for all the latest ticket news.