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First place, a financial bonus and the promise of an easy draw beckons to Hapoel Tel Aviv as it faces Hamburg tonight in its final Group C match of the Europa League. Head coach Eli Guttman brought this message home to his players yesterday, telling them the match is in their hands. Second-place Hapoel trails Hamburg by just one point.

"Our goal is to finish at the top of the group," Guttman told reporters at yesterday's press conference. "Hamburg may be the favorite to win the cup, but we also have something to say," he said. "We won't close down in the rear, we'll find a way to attack."

Feeling loose but determined to advance to the final to be held in its home stadium, Hamburg arrived in Israel yesterday accompanied by 200 of its fans. "I'm convinced [we'll win]," said Czech captain David Jarolim. Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia said the team felt more pressure when it won 4-2 in Germany.