HJK Helsinki have a bone to pick with their potential UEFA Champions League third qualifying round opponents, while home ties will be strained when FC København take on Club Brugge KV as UEFA.com rounds up reaction fro Friday's draw.
Finnish champions HJK look to be on a collision course with Celtic FC, after losing out to the Glasgow side in extra time in the first round of the 2000/01 UEFA Cup. Anti Muurinen's men are 7-0 up from the opening leg of their tie against KR Rejkyavík, and the former Finland coach said: "Celtic sounds good and interesting. I am happy to play the first leg away. It is also worth remembering that the domestic season has not yet started in Scotland, and that will probably be a small advantage for us."
København have also met their opponents Club Brugge before, winning 1-0 at the Jan Breydel Stadion in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, and the Danish side now have a Belgian coach, former RSC Anderlecht boss Ariël Jacobs. Midfielder Martin Vingaard said: "We players do not know much about Belgian teams, but there is no doubt that our coach does, so he will definitely know how to defeat them."
Club Brugge feature three Danish players – former Silkeborg IF defender Jim Larsen and two of Vingaard's former club-mates at Esbjerg fB. "I am particularly looking forward to playing against Niki Zimling and Jesper Jørgensen," added Vingaard.
FC Basel 1893 are expecting to take on Molde FK with the Norwegian champions 3-0 up against FK Ventspils, and the Swiss side's coach Heiko Vogel, who are 2-0 ahead versus FC Flora Tallinn, has cause for concern. Molde boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored Manchester United FC's last-gasp winner against Vogel's FC Bayern München in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final, and the ex-midfielder said: "I remember Solskjær well from 1999 and we would do well to regard his side as dangerous opponents. From a physical point of view, Molde will be bigger than us. They are a tough nut to crack."
SC Vaslui received a tough draw, with a trip to Fenerbahçe SK awaiting the Romanian side, and coach Marius Șumudică knows they will be up against it. "Fenerbahçe have much more European experience, and in terms of market value, their squad is much better than ours," he said. "But that doesn't mean that we are doomed and that we won't be going for it. Reaching the play-offs would not necessarily be a surprise, but it would definitely be an achievement."
Romanian champions CFR 1907 Cluj, meanwhile, will meet the winner of FC Slovan Liberec's tie against FC Shakhter Karagandy, with the Slovakian champions beating their Kazakh counterparts 1-0 in this week's first leg. "We got a tough opponent in the second qualifying round, so nobody could expect an easy one in the third," shrugged Liberec coach Jaroslav Šilhavý, who is eager to rein in any talk of the third qualifying round. "We have a very demanding 90 minutes in front of us and we cannot get distracted."
AEL Limassol FC have FK Partizan in their sights, with both sides having built up three-goal advantages in their current ties. The Cypriot champions' 28-year-old captain Marios Nicolaou said: "There are no easy games anymore. We need to be focused and stay grounded in these types of matches. We will start compiling information on our opponents and studying them because they will be very tough."
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