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Champions keyed up for kick-off

Published: Friday 29 June 2007, 21.30CET
As a total of 28 sides learn their fate following the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round draw, uefa.com rounds up the reaction from across Europe.
 
 
 
Published: Friday 29 June 2007, 21.30CET

Champions keyed up for kick-off

As a total of 28 sides learn their fate following the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round draw, uefa.com rounds up the reaction from across Europe.

The 28 sides involved in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League are dusting off their atlases after learning the identity of their opponents for the opening games of the 2007/08 competition on 17/18 and 24/25 July. uefa.com rounds up the reaction from across Europe.

FC Khazar Lenkoran v NK Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo are the strongest of all the opponents we could have got but we are not going to roll over. Football has seen many unexpected events before and we hope to prove our strength. There are still transfers we hope to complete before those matches.
Zaur Azizov, Lenkoran deputy general director

I am satisfied. We will be favourites in both rounds and I expect us to reach the third qualifying round. I expect us to win against Lenkoran and in the next round I would like to play [NK] Domžale because their home city is closer to Zagreb than [KF] Tirana so there would be more of our fans there.
Branko Ivanković, Dinamo Zagreb coach

APOEL FC v FC BATE Borisov
We are pleased with the draw although BATE are a difficult side. Playing the first game at home and with our fans behind us, I am sure we can do the job. We are not even thinking of the second round right now though.
Kyriakos Zivanaris, APOEL Chairman

This is by no means the worst draw. The Cypriot league is a similar standard to ours and the chances are even. The plus is that we play away from home first and also our season is in full swing while in Cyprus they are in pre-season.
Igor Kriushenko, BATE coach

FC Sheriff v FC Rànger's
"It could be an interesting clash. I can't say I know our opponents but I'm sure the coach will get enough information on them to achieve the best possible result. I am pleased we will play in Moldova first so we can be enthusiastic for the return leg if we manage a good result there. It's the first time an Andorran club will play in the Champions League so we'll see what we can do. It could be a nice experience."
Justo Ruiz, FC Rànger's player

FC Hafnarfjördur v HB Tórshavn

It is great to meet a Faroe Islands team - it is a nice journey! We have played there before and it was great. Our chances are good if we play as well as we should but nothing is certain in football.
Pétur Stephensen Hafnarfjördur spokesman

The New Saints FC v FK Ventspils
The biggest disappointment is that we're up against a team that has already played 14 games in their league season while we'll have players who have not even had 180 minutes preparation. Ventspils played Newcastle last season [in the UEFA Cup] and only lost 1-0 on aggregate so they're obviously a good side. It's a big call for us but it's the Champions League and we are in among teams with pedigree. Hopefully we'll be able to take a lead over there to defend. We'll give it our best shot.
Ken McKenna, TNS manager

Every team probably want as weak an opponent as possible but it is ridiculous to speak about weak teams in the UEFA Champions League - every participant deserves respect and special attention. This promises to be the season to remember for Ventspils because it will mark our debut in the competition. I do not know much about TNS at the moment but I have experience of playing against other clubs from Wales. I am sure both matches will be close and tense.
Roman Grigorchuk, Ventspils coach

FK Pobeda v FC Levadia Tallinn
We do not know anything about Pobeda but all teams from former Yugoslav republics are strong and Estonian teams traditionally suffer against them [in 14 games between clubs from Estonia and sides from former Yugoslav republics, the Estonian team have yet to win a match, drawing one and losing 13]. Even if we do manage to qualify, there is even stronger opponent waiting from the same area [FK Crvena Zvezda], so it was not an easy or lucky draw for us.
Indrek Zelinski, Levadia forward

FC Olimpi Rustavi v FC Astana
This draw has a double meaning for us. We wanted to play against a good club from a long way away but have to be satisfied with Georgian side Olimpi. Previous meetings between sides from our countries show that the strongest clubs in Georgia and Kazakhstan are at about the same level. We can't approach these matches as an ordinary tie because the meeting with Rosenborg [BK] is at stake.
Maksim Zhalmagambetov, Astana defender

FC Zeta v FBK Kaunas
The champions of any country must be a quality side. Kaunas are a seeded team in the first round and start as favourites. However, the only truth in football is on the pitch. We will do everything to spring a surprise and earn a second qualifying round tie against Rangers [FC].
Slobodan Halilović, Zeta coach

Zeta are playing in the Champions League for the first time and this will give them extra motivation. But Kaunas have beaten clubs from the former Yugoslavia before and we hope to advance to the next round. We have played Rangers and Celtic [FC] before. Another tie against Rangers would be special for us - our club is led by Vladimir Romanov who also owns Rangers's rivals, Heart of Midlothian [FC].
Šenderis Giršovicius, Kaunas sporting director

Tampere United v S.S. Murata
We are pleased with the draw. Of course we have to play the matches first, but there cannot be any other aim than to advance to the second qualifying round. If we can beat Murata, there will a much tougher challenge in the next round. Few people in Finland probably realize how good [PFC] Levski [Sofia] are. They played in the Champions League group stage last season - we have to remember that."
Sami Salonen, Tampere managing director

F91 Dudelange (LUX) v MŠK Žilina (SVK)
I believe we will go through. We will be favourites. We have not got much information about the team from Luxembourg yet, but we will have.
Karol Belaník, MŠK Žilina general manager

Derry City FC v FC Pyunik

It's not an ideal draw for our fans - we had great support when we played in Sweden, Scotland and France in the UEFA Cup last season and it will be difficult and expensive for our fans to get to Armenia. If we get into the second round we will play [FC] Shakhtar Donetsk and that would be a very difficult game. Anyone who has watched the UEFA Champions League in the last few years knows the name Shakhtar very well, but we're not looking that far ahead now - we're just concentrating on the first round against Pyunik.
Peter Hutton, Derry player/caretaker manager

Derry City are not the strongest opponents we could have got in but Irishmen are very good in the air. In spite of their strong points we are capable of winning. We will be at home in the second leg and that is another factor in our favour. We have to play a good match away.
Sargis Hovsepyan, Pyunik captain

Marsaxlokk FC v FK Sarajevo
It is a very difficult draw for us. Last year we had another meeting with another side from Bosnia-Herzegovina, NK Zrinjski, who eventually finished second in their league last season. We drew 1-1 at home and lost 3-0 away. We will do our utmost as always to put up a very good show in the two legs - but again, I feel it is a very difficult draw
Peter Hartshorne, Marsaxlokk vice-president

I am pleased. We should get through the first qualifying round because we are the better team. The second round match with the Belgian side [KRC Genk] will be harder but we can spring a surprise.
Husref Musemić, Sarajevo coach

NK Domžale v KF Tirana
The draw was difficult for Domzale and we will face tough opponents. In truth, we do not know much about the Tirana so we will have to prepare well for both matches.
Slaviša Stojanović, Domžale coach

The draw could have been better, but it could have been worse as well. We don't know much about our opponents but we will try to achieve our objective - to get to the next round.
Sulejman Starova, Tirana coach

Last updated: 30/01/12 6.46CET

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