MICHAEL HADLEY - Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Clint Dempsey and Tottenham's meeting with Panathinaikos will highlight the final week of the Europa League group stage.
Tottenham - Panathinaikos
After drawing four of their five games in the group stage, Dempsey and Clint Tottenham will host Panathinaikos at White Hart Lane with the right to advance on the line.
Since their 3-1 victory over Lazio in the Europa League, the English team have finally hit their stride domestically and they will try to use that momentum to advance to the Round of 32.
Dempsey has split time with fellow forward Jermain Defoe outside of England, sharing the load during the midweek games.
American Brad Friedel hasn't played in the Europa League thus far, and Tottenham will likely be without Benoit Assou-Eketto, Emmanuel Adebayor, Scott Parker and Younes Kaboul, all due to injury.
In their previous meeting in Athens, the two teams drew 1-1. A victory for Panathinaikos is the only way the Greek club can advance, while a draw or victory for Tottenham will be enough.
Stuttgart - Molde
After a successful 2012 in Norway, Josh Gatt and Molde have one final competitive match this season, squaring off against Stuttgart in Germany.
Molde have managed only one positive result in the group stage, defeating Stuttgart 2-0 in their first competition. Sitting four points behind FC Copenhagen, Molde have no chance of advancing. Fortunately their domestic success has put Molde in the next Champions League qualifiers.
Stuttgart on the other hand must win, or draw and hope for a Køberhavn loss or draw, to advance.
Gatt will likely feature for Molde, who will want to set a high-water mark heading into the postseason.
Levante - Hannover 96
Workhorse captain Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 will travel to Spain for their final game against fellow Group L victors Levante.
The two clubs will move on regardless of final day outcomes, sitting well ahead of FC Twente and Helsingborg.
Cherundolo has played in 790 of Hannover's 810 minutes in the Europa League thus far, including playing for the US in Russia as well as full time in the Bundesliga.
Hannover will be without forward Mohammad Abellauoe and could additionally keep other starters on the bench with nothing to gain or lose from the contest.
Bayer Leverkusen - Rosenborg
Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg will finish their 2012 season with a trip to Germany to take on Bayer Leverkusen
Despite their lack of success in the Europa League, Rosenborg, like Molde, were successful in Norway, qualifying automatically for the next edition of the Europa League after finishing third in the Eliteserien.
Roseborg have managed six points thus far in the group stage, defeating Rapid Vienna twice.
Diskerud most recently scored in his debut for the USA, the second goal in stoppage time against Russia, and has one goal to his name thus far, the winner against Legia Warszawa.
American goalkeeper David Yelldell hasn't featured for Leverkusen, but could potentially see time as the German club has secured their place in the Round of 32.
Leverkusen will be without Michael Kadlec, Daniel Schwaab and Karim Bellarabi, all out recently with injuries.
Rapid Vienna - Metalist Kharkiv
Fresh off of an impressive 4-3 victory over SV Reid, Rapid Vienna and Terrence Boyd will play host to Metalist in Vienna.
Rapid have lost every game in the group stage after impressively downing PAOK, falling most recently to Rosenborg 3-2.
Boyd has seen his time on the field fluctuate with the success of Rapid across all competitions.
FC Twente - Helsingborg
Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg will wrap up their 2012 campaign against FC Twente.
Helsingborg finished their Allsvenskan season over a month ago, ending the season sixth, six points shy of a Europa League position.
Bedoya played 90 minutes two weeks ago when Helsingborg fell 3-1 to Levante after previously scoring against Hannover.
Neither team can advance, with Helsingborg at the bottom of Group J with one point and Twente six points behind Levante with four points.
Bryan Gerzizich is unlikely to see time when Ironi Kiryat Shmona heads to France to meet Lyon.