The official website for European football

'The Champions League: what dreams are made of'

Published: Monday 23 June 2014, 16.56CET
Gibraltarian debutants Lincoln FC are "tremendously excited" to make their bow, and their anticipation of the new season was shared around Europe by coaches and players.
'The Champions League: what dreams are made of'
Celtic, one of two European Cup winners involved, are picked out during the second qualifying round draw ©Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Monday 23 June 2014, 16.56CET

'The Champions League: what dreams are made of'

Gibraltarian debutants Lincoln FC are "tremendously excited" to make their bow, and their anticipation of the new season was shared around Europe by coaches and players.

Representatives of the teams involved in the UEFA Champions League first and second qualifying rounds were mainly expecting tough tasks following the first draws for the 2014/15 UEFA club competition season. Mick McElwee, coach of Lincoln FC – the first club from Gibraltar to appear in the competition – summed up the general mood as "tremendously excited", a mood shared by plenty of other clubs.

First qualifying round
Mick McElwee, Lincoln coach

We are tremendously excited. We have now more information which makes the expectation and anticipation even greater. We are looking forward to our first match, at home against HB Tórshavn, so we're just getting prepared for that. We've spoken to HB's representatives at the draw; we're happy that they are fully cooperating with us and that we've got all the information we need to make our trip to Torshavn a successful one.

Alan Gasperoni, La Fiorita president
We certainly weren't particularly lucky with this draw. Levadia are a very good side so we will have another difficult task. However we have built a squad able to compete. Our objective is to play two good games; we are San Marino's champions and want to represent our country in the best possible way.

Marko Kristal, Levadia Tallinn coach
La Fiorita are the easiest opponents we could have got – it would be much harder against Banants. Every European league winner should be quite strong but still, the draw was lucky for us. It's a totally different story with AC Sparta Praha after that. They are a really big European team. Our only aim is to get through to the second qualifying round. I believe our squad is strong enough to complete the task.

Richard Imbernón, Santa Coloma coach
The Armenian champions [Banants] were probably the toughest rivals of the three possibilities. That will motivate us even more to continue working with the same intensity. Things have changed a lot over the years. Whereas before, you were drawn to play a team and you pretty much knew you would be eliminated, now there is a chance of getting through. If we are at our absolute best, why can't we achieve something heroic?

Zsolt Hornyák, Banants coach
Only the best teams play in the UEFA Champions League so there is no way you would have an easy ride here. It will be a Champions League debut both for me personally and for Banants. However we will do our best to show we are a very well organised side, and not give the impression of debutants. We are aiming to raise the profile of Armenian clubs.

Second qualifying round
Constantin Gâlcă, Steaua coach

[Strømsgodset were] the strongest unseeded team we could have played, so I'm sure there will be two even matches. At the same time let's not forget that Steaua havea lot of European experience and the quality of players at our disposal is very high. We're preparing very well for the new season and have every reason to hope for qualification.

Ronny Deila, Celtic manager
I will try and watch KR before we play them. We have a good chance to go through but have to be prepared. They are a good team and we have to treat them with respect, but I am excited about the draw.

Rúnar Kristinsson, KR coach
We will try to enjoy these games and of course we aim to get good results. Either you want a team you could beat, or a team like Real Madrid. Celtic will be an adventure for everyone but this will be very difficult.

Branko Karačić, Zrinjski coach
[In Maribor] we got quality opponents who played in the [UEFA Europa League] group stage last season. However, we believe that with great inspiration, and with the support of our fans, we can get good results in the two matches.

Ante Šimundža, Maribor coach
The champions of Bosnia and Herzegovina are a team that deserves a lot of respect. Zrinjski won the league in a tough battle, so that confirms their quality. Our preparation for both matches will be accurate and precise; we know it will be hot on the pitch and in the stands in Mostar in the first leg, but we are ready for the challenge. We have only one aim – to reach the next round.

Cadú, Sheriff midfielder
We beat Sutjeska emphatically last season and went through to the next round. They've made some changes since last year so nobody can be sure what to expect from the coming games, but we are very motivated.

Ivan Janjušević, Sutjeska captain
A year ago, we were newcomers to the Champions league and after good result in first leg [against Sheriff], we were very confident that we could get into the next round. I hope we learned some lessons [from a 5-0 home defeat in the second leg]. Sheriff are still strong favourites, but I am sure they will need a much better performance this time to beat us.

Igor Angelovski, Rabotnicki coach
The thorough analysis of HJK Helsinki is yet to come, but our initial assessment is that they are strong outfit. However, we are capable of surprising them and qualifying for the next round. I predict two closely contested matches.

Gilbert Agius, Valletta coach
Qarabağ will be difficult opponents. I have been following Azerbaijan football because it is my duty as a coach to have a general knowledge of nearly all the teams, and football there is improving rapidly due to heavy investment in all sectors of the game.

Petr Kašpar, Slovan managing director
We are used to getting the best side of the unseeded teams. Now it looks a little bit better. I don't remember when Slovakian opponents last played a team from Wales. For sure, we are favourites.

Carl Darlington, The New Saints manager
The Champions League is what dreams are made of and there is an excitement around the whole club. It is the Champions League though, and while Slovan Bratislava will be a tough test, any game in this competition will be tough.

Andrius Skerla, Žalgiris assistant coach
It's certainly not the easiest draw, but nothing is lost until the matches start. Dinamo are veterans of European tournaments, often playing in the UEFA Champions league. They didn't qualify last year, so hopefully they are not in the best form.

Zoran Mamić, Dinamo Zagreb coach
It seems we've got the most difficult opponents in this draw. Žalgiris are not the easiest but our goal is clear: we have to prepare as well as possible and find a way to reach the next round.

Tommy Breslin, Cliftonville manager
Debrecen have been a dominant force in Hungary for the past decade so it will be a formidable test. They have plenty of European experience and qualified for the group stage only four years ago. One of our targets as a club is to progress in Europe and it's a major motivation for us, but we are under no illusions. We have just started our pre-season and facing Debrecen in mid-July when the temperatures will be soaring in Hungary is a tough assignment.

Elemér Kondás, Debrecen coach
We will respect the champions of Northern Ireland; Cliftonville won their league by six points and have the league's top goalscorer, but now the serious research starts. We don't underestimate our opponents; we know we will have difficult contests but regardless, our goal is to qualify.

Last updated: 23/06/14 21.35CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=2118792.html#the+champions+league+what+dreams+made

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.