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Play-off draw looms for Thursday's hopefuls

Published: Sunday 31 July 2011, 14.49CET
Trying ties await some big clubs in the third qualifying round second legs, with the prospect of even bigger prey in the play-offs keeping Europe's would-be giant killers hungry.
Play-off draw looms for Thursday's hopefuls
Gareth Bale's Tottenham enter the fray in the play-off round ©Getty Images
 
 
Published: Sunday 31 July 2011, 14.49CET

Play-off draw looms for Thursday's hopefuls

Trying ties await some big clubs in the third qualifying round second legs, with the prospect of even bigger prey in the play-offs keeping Europe's would-be giant killers hungry.

The battle is far from over for this week's third qualifying round, with some marquee names set to join an already impressive cast list in Friday's UEFA Europa League play-off draw in Nyon.

Winners in 2010, Club Atlético de Madrid are far from through as they hold a 2-1 lead from the home leg of their tie against Strømsgodset TF. FC Thun are also looking to cause an upset after holding US Città di Palermo to a 2-2 draw in Italy. German contenders 1. FSV Mainz and Fulham FC also take draws into the decisive legs of their ties against CS Gaz Metan Mediaş and RNK Split respectively.

Those sides have more reason to be nervous, with the smaller third qualifying round contenders eager to take bigger scalps in the play-offs. Among the teams awaiting there are two-time UEFA Cup winners Sevilla FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC, who reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals last season, along with three former European champions. Ten domestic title winners also parachute into the competition from UEFA Champions League qualifying.

The 70 clubs involved in the third qualifying round boast three major European trophies between them − FC Dinamo Tbilisi won the 1981 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final while Atlético won the same trophy in 1962 as well as the inaugural UEFA Europa League decider. The 25 new entrants in the next round boast 16 − including those three European Champion Clubs' Cups; proof of the step up in class in the next stage.

Winners by tournament among UEFA Europa League play-off entrants

European Champion Clubs' Cup: 3
Celtic FC (1967), FC Steaua Bucureşti (1986), PSV Eindhoven (1988)

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 6
Tottenham Hotspur FC (1963), Sporting Clube de Portugal (1964), RSC Anderlecht (1976 & 1978), Paris Saint-Germain FC (1996), S.S. Lazio (1999)

UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League: 7
Tottenham Hotspur FC (1972 & 1984), PSV Eindhoven (1978), RSC Anderlecht (1983), FC Schalke 04 (1997), Sevilla FC (2006 & 2007)

Last updated: 04/08/11 0.52CET

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