Manchester City FC will start their UEFA Cup campaign with a testing trip to the Faroe Islands to take on EB/Streymur following today's draw for the first qualifying round in Nyon.
The first qualifying round is separated into three regional sections, with ties to be played on 17 and 31 July. In the Northern section, 1969/70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup winners Manchester City – who hosted May's UEFA Cup final between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Rangers FC and qualified for this season's competition via the UEFA Fair Play rankings – begin their adventure against EB/Streymur in what will be new manager Mark Hughes's first game in charge. Brøndby IF will also face Faroese opposition, meeting B36 Tórshavn.
In the Southern section, Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC – who reached the group stage last term – are up against San Marino's AC Juvenes-Dogana, while HNK Hajduk Split will hope to strike a decisive blow when they host Malta's Birkirkara FC in their first leg. In the Central-East division, FC Salzburg kick off against Armenia's FC Banants, while Hertha BSC Berlin, also UEFA Fair Play winners, face the challenge of Moldova's FC Nistru Otaci.
The 37 teams who win through the first qualifying round will be joined by 27 more sides – including the eleven UEFA Intertoto Cup winners – in the second qualifying round draw, taking place in Nyon on 1 August. Those 32 ties will be played on 14 and 28 August, with the winners following the 32 automatic entrants and the 16 clubs eliminated in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, into the UEFA Cup first round. This will decide the 40 group-stage contenders. This season's UEFA Cup final will be held at the Sükrü Saraçoglu Stadium in Istanbul on 20 May 2009.
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