Spanish sides Sevilla FC and CA Osasuna face tricky ties against 1. FSV Mainz and Stade Rennais FC after the UEFA Cup first round draw today in Monaco's Grimaldi Forum.
Holders begin defence
Eighty teams from 30 nations will compete for 40 places in the group stage when the ties are played on 15 and 29 September. The third Primera División side, RCD Espanyol, are up against Czech club FK Teplice, holders PFC CSKA Moskva take on FC Midtjylland of Denmark, while losing finalists Sporting Clube de Portugal encounter Sweden's Halmstads BK in the first step on the road to the final in Eindhoven on 10 May.
Four former European champions are in the first round. FK Crvena Zvezda of Belgrade play SC Braga from Portugal, FC Steaua Bucuresti meet Norway's Vålerenga IF, while KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen are the opponents for Olympique de Marseille, and Hamburger SV tackle FC København. French team RC Lens, who like Hamburg and Marseille came through the UEFA Intertoto Cup, face Polish representatives Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski.
Other stand-out ties include AS Monaco FC, one of 16 refugees from the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, playing Dutch outfit Willem II, 2000 victors Galatasaray SK against Norwegians Tromsø IL, and 2002 winners Feyenoord versus AFC Rapid Bucuresti. English side Bolton Wanderers FC make their European debut against PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1936 of Bulgaria, Everton FC end a 26-season exile from the competition against FC Dinamo Bucuresti, and AS Roma meet Greek second division team Aris Thessaloniki FC.
Two of the three Fair Play entrants - Germany's Mainz and Viking FK of Norway - are involved, playing Sevilla and FK Austria Wien respectively. The sides that emerge victorious from the two-legged ties will then be split into eight pools of five, with the first of five group-stage Matchdays on 20 October.
*Match reversed from draw
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