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Champions League back in focus

Published: Tuesday 11 July 2006, 13.45CET
With the FIFA World Cup over, club football returns to the top of the agenda as the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League season gets under way tonight.
by Kevin Ashby
from London

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Published: Tuesday 11 July 2006, 13.45CET

Champions League back in focus

With the FIFA World Cup over, club football returns to the top of the agenda as the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League season gets under way tonight.

With the FIFA World Cup over, club football returns to the top of the agenda as the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League season gets under way tonight.

Holders Barça
Sixty-two days after FC Barcelona lifted the trophy in Paris, fourteen clubs begin their quest to reach the second qualifying round, while eight more enter the fray tomorrow. Among the teams taking part are FHK Liepajas Metalurgs, the reward for ending Skonto FC's lengthy reign as Latvia's leading side, and Welsh challengers The New Saints FC who were beaten by then holders Liverpool FC at this stage last year.

Past masters
Liverpool and FC Artmedia of Slovakia both progressed from the first qualifying round to the group stage last term, and while that is ultimately the aim of each of this week's participants, many will be looking no further than a tie against one of the star names who will get started in the next round. Among those are 1986 winners FC Steaua Bucuresti, 1991 European champions FK Crvenza Zvezda, Fenerbahçe SK and FC Dynamo Kyiv.

Athens finals
The first qualifying round concludes next Tuesday and Wednesday, with the second qualifying round scheduled for 25/26 July and 1/2 August. Liverpool, 2005/06 runners-up Arsenal FC, Valencia CF, AFC Ajax and SL Benfica are among the 18 clubs to feature in the third and final qualifying round, with games being played on 8/9 and 22/23 August. The draw for the 32-team group stage will be held in Monaco on 24 August, with the competition climaxing in Athens on 23 May 2007.

2006/07 UEFA Champions League
First qualifying round draw
First leg:
11/12 July
Second leg: 18/19 July
* denotes playing Tuesday
Match Fixture
1* KS Elbasani (ALB) v FK Ekranas (LTU)
2* FC TVMK Tallinn (EST) v FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL)
3 FHK Liepajas Metalurgs (LAT) v FK Aktobe (KAZ)
4 Myllykosken Pallo-47 (FIN) v The New Saints FC (WAL)
5 Cork City FC (IRL) v Apollon Limassol FC (CYP)
6* FC Sioni Bolnisi (GEO) v FK Baku (AZE)
7* F91 Dudelange (LUX) v FK Rabotnicki (MKD)
8 FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLS) v NK Široki Brijeg (BIH)
9* Birkirkara FC (MLT) v B36 Tórshavn (FAR)
10* Linfield FC (NIR) v NK Gorica (SLO)
11* FC Pyunik (ARM) v FC Sheriff (MOL)

2006/07 UEFA Champions League
Second qualifying round draw
First leg:
25/26 July
Second leg: 1/2 August
Winners Match 10 v FC Steaua Bucuresti (ROU)
PFC Levski Sofia (BUL) v Winners Match 6
FC Zürich (SUI) v SV Salzburg (AUT)
Djurgårdens IF (SWE) v MFK Ružomberok (SVK)
Debreceni VSC (HUN) v Winners Match 7
Winners Match 5 v FK Crvena Zvezda (SCG)
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR) v Winnners Match 9
FK Mladá Boleslav (CZE) v Vålerenga IF (NOR)
Winners Match 11 v FC Spartak Moskva (RUS)
Winners Match 3 v FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
Winners Match 2 v Legia Warszawa (POL)
FC København (DEN) v Winners Match 4
Winners Match 1 v NK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)
Heart of Midlothian FC (SCO) v Winners Match 8

Last updated: 30/01/12 10.20CET

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