Ten places on offer as play-offs begin
The UEFA Champions League play-offs begin next week as the likes of AFC Ajax, FC Dynamo Kyiv, SV Werder Bremen and UC Sampdoria vie for the ten group-stage places on offer, according to UEFA.com.
The UEFA Champions League play-offs begin on Tuesday with the likes of AFC Ajax, FC Dynamo Kyiv, SV Werder Bremen and UC Sampdoria vying for the ten group-stage places on offer.
In two of the ties group-stage newcomers are guaranteed. On Tuesday BSC Young Boys welcome former UEFA Cup Winners` Cup and UEFA Cup holders Tottenham Hotspur FC to Berne for their opening leg; the following night FC Salzburg take on Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.
Salzburg against Hapoel is one of five games in the Champions Route that will ensure the number of nations represented in the group stage will rise from the 13 already confirmed to at least 18. In that section on Tuesday night some familiar names face `local` opposition, as Rosenborg BK play FC København and AC Sparta Praha welcome Slovakia`s MŠK Žilina.
In the League Route, FC Zenit St. Petersburg face AJ Auxerre in Tuesday`s early kick-off and AFC Ajax visit FC Dynamo Kyiv. The following night SC Braga continue their bid for a group-stage debut at home to Sevilla FC and SV Werder Bremen take on a UC Sampdoria side whose last European Champion Clubs` Cup appearance came in the final of the last pre-UEFA Champions League season of 1991/92. Moldova`s FC Sheriff will also aim to secure a maiden UEFA Champions League group place on Wednesday when they visit FC Basel 1893, while FK Partizan play RSC Anderlecht.
All five games commencing on Wednesday conclude on Tuesday 24 August, with the other five second legs the following night. The group-stage draw, which will include holders FC Internazionale Milano among 22 teams automatically qualified, takes place at 18.00CET on 26 August in Monaco.