Toulouse look to have a shoe-in at home to Edinburgh while Stade Francais and Biarritz Olympique travel to Ireland and Wales respectively for less straight forward assignments.
Defending champions Toulouse, who thrashed opponents Edinburgh33-0 in their final pool game in January, boast eight French internationals,while Edinburgh have 11 Scottish caps.
French champions Stade Francais, who travel to Munster, andBiarritz Olympique, away to Llanelli, have both proved they can win big games on the road thisseason.
London Wasps, led by England captain Lawrence Dallaglio, playGloucester in an all-English tie.
Toulouse, seeking their third European Cup win, are withoutscrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, who tore a hamstring in the Six Nations winover Wales, and fly-half Frederic Michalak who sprained an ankle in a clubmatch last weekend.
That leaves just 21-year-old second-choice Sylvain Dupuy asscrum-half cover, unless coach Guy Noves continues with wing Vincent Clerc, whohad a promising 30 minutes against Narbonne last weekend, alongside YannDelaigue.
But Toulouse have a mighty pack led by French Grand Slam captainFabien Pelous who will play his 48th European Cup match against EdinburghRugby.
The only players involved this weekend to have topped half a century of Heineken Cupcaps are Anthony Foley (Munster - 58), Robin McBryde (Llanelli Scarlets - 52), and Chris Wyatt (Llanelli Scarlets - 51).
Pelous' team-mate Emile Ntamack, who scored the first try in the competition, back in 1995, has been an ever-present this season toincrease his tally to 46 games.
Scotland centre Tom Philip escaped punishment for a high tackle onIreland captain Brian O'Driscoll last month but Edinburgh have lost injuredNo.8 Simon Taylor.
Munster skipper Jim Williams, a former Wallaby No 8, says StadeFrancais are strong all-round with a powerful pack and a deadly kicker inDiego Dominguez. "They are the kind of team that is capable of producing quitea number of surprises," said the Australian.
Nick Mallett's side got over their away jinx with a win atLeicester early in the season and with little hope of making the French championshipplay-offs they are desperate for success in Europe.
Munster can count on nine Ireland internationals, includingworld-class locks Donncha O'Callaghan and Paul O'Connell plus half-backs RonanO'Gara and Peter Stringer.
The Paris club's Test props Sylvain Marconnet and Pieter de
Their backs include current France internationals ChristopheDominici and Brian Liebenberg, former France centre Stephane Glas as well asArgentina stars Agustin Pichot and Ignacio Corleto - although there is doubt about Pichot's participation.
Biarritz Olympique confirmed their away credentials with a win at Sale. Scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili, the hero of France's Six Nationstriumph over England last month, says his side are determined to progress. "We have reached the quarter-finals twice before and we aredesperate to go further," said the scrum-half.
Llanelli, who lost to Perpignan at the same stage last season,will be without club captain Leigh Davies because of his long-term kneeinjury.
John Davies, Scott Quinnell and Vernon Cooper are all expected tobe fit, and fly-half Stephen Jones should recover from his calf strain toplay his 48th European Cup match.
Eight Llanelli Scarlets players have been laid low by sickness butcoach Nigel Davies hopes it is just a 24-hour bug.
Biarritz have been forced to change their centres because ofinjury to Australian Marc Stcherbina and Guillaume Bousses. Argentina's MartinGaitan lines up alongside former Sydney Eastern Suburbs' John Isaac in theBiarritz attack in Wales on Friday.
But Serge Blanco's club can count on a crop of Frenchinternationals in Yachvili, No 8 Thomas Lievremont, fly-half Julien Peyrelongue,full-back Nicolas Brusque and fearsome flanker Serge Betsen.
"Our previous efforts in this tournament show that we're notfar away from a semi-final spot, so we're confident," said Biarritz coachPatrice Lagisquet.
Dallaglio's Wasps include England internationals Josh Lewsey,Simon Shaw and Joe Worsley while Gloucester have England's Andy Gomarsall, HenryPaul, Phil Vickery and Trevor Woodman.
All four matches are sold out. Toulouse lead the way with acapacity 36,500 expected at Stadium de Toulouse. If Toulouse beat Edinburgh they take on the victors of theLlanelli - Biarritz match at Bordeaux. An Edinburgh win would give them asemi-final at Murrayfield.
The winners of the Munster - Stade Francais eight clash play Waspsor Gloucester at either Dublin's Lansdowne Road or the Stade Charlety inParis.
Both semi-finals will take place on the weekend of April 23rd/25thahead of the final at English rugby's Twickenham headquarters on May 23rd.
AFP - 2004.