SV Salzburg have been paired with FC Zürich after today's UEFA Champions League first and second qualifying round draws in Nyon, Switzerland.
In all 22 clubs are involved in the first qualifying round with another 17 sides, including Salzburg, led by Giovanni Trapattoni and Lothar Matthäus, joining in the next round. "We can live with this draw," said Trapattoni, a European Champion Clubs' Cup winner as a player and coach. "I think we can compete with the quality of the Swiss. I think that today we could have been worse off. Our Swiss players will be a big help." Salzburg and Zurich are both host venues for UEFA EURO 2008™ in Austria and Switzerland.
Former winners FC Steaua Bucuresti and FK Crvena Zvezda will also enter in the second qualifying round and will face either Linfield FC or NK Gorica and either Cork City FC or Apollon Limassol FC respectively. Both draws were conducted at UEFA headquarters by Jean Fournet-Fayard, member of the UEFA club competitions committee, and Michele Centenaro, UEFA's head of club competitions.
All the teams will hope to emulate the achievement of Slovakian outfit FC Artmedia who, like Liverpool FC, went from the first knockout round to the group stage last season. They will at least feel they can reach the third qualifying round, where they will be met by another 18 clubs entering at that stage. That draw will be held on 28 July with the 32 participating sides competing in 16 fixtures over two legs on 8/9 and 22/23 August for the right to follow the 16 automatic qualifiers into the group stage.
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