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Another step on road to Athens

Published: Wednesday 2 August 2006, 18.05CET
The lineup for the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round will be completed on Wednesday evening, with 26 teams in action across Europe. features

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Published: Wednesday 2 August 2006, 18.05CET

Another step on road to Athens

The lineup for the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round will be completed on Wednesday evening, with 26 teams in action across Europe.

Keeping minds focused on the task in hand might be the biggest challenge for coaches of a number of clubs on Wednesday night as the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round concludes with 26 teams hoping to move a step closer to the group stage.

Illustrious clubs
With the third qualifying round draw having been made in Nyon last week, it will be hard to stop thoughts drifting to potential match-ups with some of the continent's most illustrious sides. While the likes of FC Dynamo Kyiv and Heart of Midlothian FC take commanding advantages from their first legs, several teams will still fancy their chances of joining Fenerbahçe SK, who progressed on Tuesday night, in the next stage.

Biggest prize
Perhaps the biggest prize awaits either Cork City FC or FK Crvena Zvezda, who have been drawn against six-time champions AC Milan. Crvena Zvezda start as favourites after a 1-0 victory in Ireland last week. FC Zürich and FC Salzburg also go into their second leg with their tie finely balanced, with Valencia CF, finalists in 2000 and 2001, lying in store. Zürich have a 2-1 lead but with the decider to come in Austria, Giovanni Trapattoni's side will believe in their prospects of success.

Czech interest
FC Spartak Moskva were held to a surprise 1-1 draw at Moldovan champions FC Sheriff as they bid to return to the group stage for the first time since 2002. FC Slovan Liberec face the winners and look likely to be joined in the third qualifying round by another Czech club, UEFA Champions League newcomers FK Mladá Boleslav, who have a 3-1 cushion against Vålerenga IF. Turkish title-holders Galatasaray SK will watch that match with interest as they meet the victors.

Arsenal eager
Arsenal FC, runners-up last term, should play NK Dinamo Zagreb, who are 4-1 up against Lithuania's FK Ekranas, while FC København will seek to defend a 2-0 advantage against Finland's Myllykosken Pallo-47 and earn a shot at four-time champions AFC Ajax. The third qualifying round will be played over two legs on 8/9 and 22/23 August. The final will be held in Athens on 23 May.

2006/07 UEFA Champions League
Third qualifying round draw
First leg:
8/9 August
Second leg: 22/23 August
FC Sheriff (MDA) / FC Spartak Moskva (RUS) v FC Slovan Liberec (CZE)
FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL) / Legia Warszawa (POL)
FC Zürich (SUI) / FC Salzburg (AUT) v Valencia CF (ESP)
PFC Levski Sofia (BUL) / FC Sioni Bolnisi (GEO) v AC Chievo Verona (ITA)
Heart of Midlothian FC (SCO) / NK Široki Brijeg (BIH) v AEK Athens FC (GRE)
PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS) v Djurgårdens IF FF (SWE) / MFK Ružomberok (SVK)
AC Milan (ITA) v Cork City FC (IRL) / FK Crvena Zvezda (SCG)
Galatasaray SK (TUR) v FK Mladá Boleslav (CZE) / Vålerenga IF (NOR)
R. Standard de Liège (BEL) v NK Gorica (SLO) / FC Steaua Bucuresti (ROU)
FK Austria Wien (AUT) v SL Benfica (POR)
FK Ekranas (LTU) / NK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) v Arsenal FC (ENG)
FC København (DEN) / Myllykosken Pallo-47 (FIN) v AFC Ajax (NED)
Hamburger SV (GER) v CA Osasuna (ESP)
FHK Liepajas Metalurgs (LAT) / FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR v Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)
Liverpool FC (ENG) v Maccabi Haifa FC (ISR)
LOSC Lille Métropole (FRA) v Debreceni VSC (HUN) / FK Rabotnicki (MKD)

Last updated: 02/08/06 20.16CET

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