UEFA Champions League third qualifying round guide

Ajax, CSKA Moskva, Dynamo Kyiv and Olympiacos are among 13 clubs entering the UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, which got under way on 25 July.

Ajax's last European fixture was the 2017 UEFA Europa League final in Stockholm
Ajax's last European fixture was the 2017 UEFA Europa League final in Stockholm ©AFP/Getty Images

A little over two months after defeat against Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League final, Ajax play their first competitive fixture of the 2017/18 season when they take on Nice in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Split pathways
The Amsterdam side are one of ten clubs entering the competition at this stage in the league route – made up of the third-placed team from the sixth-ranked member association (France) plus the runners-up from the associations ranked 7th to 15th – as qualifying splits.

Five of Ajax’s greatest wins in the Champions League era
Five of Ajax’s greatest wins in the Champions League era

The other avenue, the champions route, involves the 17 winners of the second qualifying round ties plus the title winners from the three highest-ranked associations that do not qualify for an automatic group place (Greece, Czech Republic and Romania).

Newcomers
İstanbul Başakşehir, Nice and Viitorul are making their first appearances in the UEFA Champions League.

İstanbul (P6 D2 L4) and Viitorul (P2 D1 L1) only made their continental debuts in 2015/16 and 2016/17 respectively and have both yet to win a game.

Nice, however, have a proud European Cup history dating back 60 years. The Côte d'Azur outfit were quarter-finalists in 1956/57 and 1959/60, losing to Real Madrid on both occasions.

Mario Balotelli: Five goals from Nice's enigmatic forward
Mario Balotelli: Five goals from Nice's enigmatic forward

What's next?

First-leg schedule

Tuesday
Qarabağ 0-0 Sheriff
Slavia Praha 1-0 BATE Borisov
AEK Athens 0-2 CSKA Moskva*
FCSB 2-2 Viktoria Plzeň*
Vardar 1-0 København
Partizan 1-3 Olympiacos

Wednesday
Astana v Legia Warszawa
Dynamo Kyiv v Young Boys*
Salzburg v Rijeka
Hapoel Beer-Sheva v Ludogorets
Viitorul v APOEL
Maribor v FH Hafnarfjördur
Nice v Ajax*
Celtic v Rosenborg
Club Brugge v İstanbul Başakşehir*

*League route ties