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Victory proves enough for Stuttgart

Stuttgart players celebrate scoring their opening goal as they beat Unirea 3-1 to reach the Champions League last 16.
Stuttgart players celebrate scoring their opening goal as they beat Unirea 3-1 to reach the Champions League last 16.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Stuttgart score three goals in the first 11 minutes to defeat Romania's Unirea Urziceni 3-1
  • The result ensures the Bundesliga side qualified from Group G alongside Sevilla
  • Fiorentina defeat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield to go through to the last 16 on top of Group E
  • French side Lyon finish second after beating Debrecen 4-0 in their final match
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(CNN) -- Christian Gross enjoyed the perfect start as Stuttgart coach as his side scored three goals in the first 11 minutes to defeat Romania's Unirea Urziceni 3-1 to book their Champions League last 16 berth.

Stuttgart, who are trailing in 16th place in the Bundesliga and sacked former coach Markus Babbel on Sunday, finished second to comfortable Group G winners Sevilla after their early triple strike stunned Dan Petrescu's visitors.

Romanian striker Ciprian Marica scored the opener against his compatriots when heading home Sami Khedira's fifth minute cross from the right.

Stuttgart kept up the frantic pace when Unirea were caught on the counter-attack and Christian Traesch supplied superb finishing when he drilled home his shot from the edge of the penalty area just three minutes later.

And Russian forward Pavel Pogrebnyak ended the tie as a contest after just 11 minutes when he showed considerable strength by holding off several defenders before hitting Stuttgart's third.

The game's tempo dropped considerably after that, but the Romanians came out firing after the break when Antonio Semedo scored straight from the interval.

However, that proved to be the end of the scoring and Unirea have to be content with a place in the Europa League after finishing third in the group.

Meanwhile, Sevilla ended their campaign with another victory as they defeated bottom side Rangers 1-0.

Frederic Kanoute scored the only goal in the eighth minute when he converted from the penalty spot after Steven Whittaker had tripped Fernando Navarro in the box.

Fiorentina ended their campaign with an impressive haul of 15 points from a possible 18 as they won 2-1 at Liverpool to confirm their position as Group E winners.

Yossi Benayoun gave Liverpool a first-half lead with a flicked header from Steven Gerrard's free-kick.

But the Serie A side leveled midway through the second-half when home defender Martin Skrtel allowed a cross-field pass to drift past him, giving Fiorentina captain Martin Jorgensen a chance to drive home the equalizer.

And, in the final minute, La Viola stole the three points when substitute Juan Vargas set up Alberto Gilardino for a fierce finish that sent the Fiorentina fans wild.

Lyon are the second team to go through, and they also ended the group stage in style with a comfortable 4-0 win over Hungarian side Debrecen, who finished the campaign without a single point.

The French side went ahead in the 25th minute when Bafetimbi Gomis made no mistake from close range after Sidney Govou's initial shot was saved.

The hosts added their second on the stroke of half-time when Michel Bastos latched onto Miralem Pjanic's free-kick -- slotting home into the bottom-right corner.

Pjanic himself added a third after the break when he met Michel's cross from the right and prodded into the bottom-left corner to put the game firmly beyond the Hungarians.

And Lyon wrapped up the scoring in the 76th minute when Jean-Alain Boumsong provided the pass for Aly Cissokho to fire into the corner of the net.