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.
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.
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.
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 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.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.