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Hamburg, Werder on course for all-German semifinals

HAMBURG SV and Werder Bremen stayed on course for an all-German UEFA Cup semifinal clash with 3-1 victories over Manchester City and Udinese, respectively, in their quarterfinal, first legs on Thursday.

Shakhtar Donetsk beat visitors Olympique Marseille 2-0 while Dynamo Kiev drew at Paris St Germain in a lackluster goalless affair leaving open the possibility of a Ukrainian semifinal if the French clubs fail to improve in the return legs.

English Premier League side Manchester City, the richest club in the world, stunned Martin Jol's Hamburg with a goal in the first minute when midfielder Stephen Ireland slotted home after a smart interchange with Brazilian Robinho.

Hamburg quickly drew level eight minutes later through Joris Mathijsen, who powered in a header from a corner, before taking the lead in the 63rd minute when Piotr Trochowksi scored from a penalty after Micah Richards handled in the box.

With 11 minutes left Trochowski, outstanding this season, provided substitute Paolo Guerrero with a low cross for the Peruvian to slam in and give Hamburg a two-goal advantage ahead of next Thursday's second leg.

But for Jol, whose team is also in the running for a domestic league and Cup double, the scoreline is tricky.

"I would have liked a fourth goal," Jol told reporters. "The 3-1 is still dangerous and it will be very hard for us if they (Manchester City) score again such an early goal."

City manager Mark Hughes was confident his team's away goal was crucial. "I said to the guys none of them should think the tie is over, because we can score goals in the return leg," he said.

Brazilian Diego scored a goal in each half to steer Werder Bremen to a 3-1 win over Udinese, the last Italian club left in European competition.

The mercurial playmaker, who has been linked by the media with a move to several top Italian clubs, scored his second goal with a curling shot from the edge of the box in the 67th minute before Hugo Almeida added a third two minutes later.

Udinese's Fabio Quagliarella pulled one back three minutes from time to give the Italians some hope.

"The goal we conceded was completely unnecessary," Werder coach Thomas Schaaf said. "This was only the first match and that is why we need to go into the return leg with full concentration."

Shakhtar stayed on track for its first European semifinal spot.

Tomas Huebschman opened the scoring from close range against the run of play six minutes before the break.


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