Malmö FF sporting director Per Ågren thinks a UEFA Champions League game against Rangers FC would be "tough, but fun" while FC Rubin Kazan goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov says FC Dynamo Kyiv "were the last opponents I wanted".
Leading 2-0 in their second qualifying round tie against HB Tórshavn, Malmö may be starting to look ahead to a possible third qualifying round meeting with Scottish champions Rangers after today's draw in Nyon. The Swedish titleholders' sporting director Ågren says such an encounter would be "tough but fun", adding: "We haven't really followed Scottish football closely so we don't know a whole lot about Rangers – but of course it's a tough draw."
Light Blues boss Ally McCoist played in Rangers' only previous tie against Swedish opponents – a 4-1 aggregate loss to IFK Göteborg in the 1997/98 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round – but feels positive about this potential Scandinavian sojourn. "I think it is a more than acceptable draw for us," said the one-time striker. "We have good contacts in Sweden so we will be fully versed on what they have to offer."
Rubin Kazan already know from experience what Dynamo can do; they went down 3-1 to the Ukrainian side in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage before drawing the return fixture in Russia 0-0. Ryzhikov said glumly: "Dynamo were the last opponents I wanted to get at this stage. I want to see all the former Soviet clubs going as far as possible in the tournament, but now one of these team must go out."
Dynamo's assistant coach Serhiy Rebrov is staying more upbeat. "It will be a pleasure to return to Kazan. However, I won't be going to walk around and meet friends but to win," noted the former forward. Dynamo coach Yuri Semin added: "The draw has thrown together the two best teams at this stage – there is no one stronger than Rubin and us. Games between Russian and Ukrainian clubs are always more interesting than matches against clubs from other countries."
SL Benfica expect a tough assignment too against last season's Turkish Super League runners-up Trabzonspor AŞ. Club director Lourenço Coelho said: "They came close to winning their league last term. They are a good team. We will have to prepare well as our goal is qualify for the play-offs."
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