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UEFA Cup Preview – Group A

Schalke: The outfit currently sits in fifth place in Germany’s Bundesliga.

Burning Question: Will 23-year old Peruvian forward Jefferson Farfán showcase his skills or will the summer signing continue to see limited playing time?  €10 million is a lot to pay a benchwarmer.  He competed against Twente last season so expect at least one goal from the match.

Paris Saint Germain:  This legendary club sits midtable at 11th place in France’s Ligue 1.

Burning Question: Does 35-year old defensive midfielder Claude Makélélé have enough left in the tank to lead his side into the final 32?  The former Chelsea player returned to France after four successful seasons with the London club.  PSG will rely on his vast amount of “big match” experience.

Manchester City: After the heartbreaking loss to Liverpool, City fell to 11th in the Premiership.

Burning Question:  Will the defense keep from leaking goals against these four top-level squads? Last season’s strength is now a weakness.  With Richard Dunne and Micah Richards manning the centre, expect the defense to settle down in due time.

Racing Santander: The club sits at 14th in Spain’s La Liga.

Burning Question: Is Mohammed ‘Mémé’ Tchité ready for the global stage?  The 24-year old Belgian-Burundian forward has all the tools to be truly great.  If he seizes this opportunity, a move to a larger club could be in the cards come January.

FC Twente: The Dutch side occupys 8th place in Holland’s Eredivisie.

Burning Question: How will ex-England boss Steve McClaren be received when he arrives at the Eastlands to face Manchester City?  McClaren returns on November 6th.  Will the crowd handle the occasion with class or will the scene turn ugly?  Here’s hoping Steve has safe travels.

The Three Who Will Advance – City, PSG, and Santander.

Each team plays two matches at home and two away, with the top three teams from each group qualifying for the last 32. Ties to be played on October 23rd, November 6th, November 27th, December 3rd and 4th and December 17th and 18th.