Former European champions FK Crvena Zvezda were paired with FC Nistru Otaci of Moldova in the draw for the UEFA Cup qualifying round today in Nyon, Switzerland.
In all, 82 teams will be competing in 41 two-legged ties in August with each club dreaming of ultimately emulating the 2002/03 winners FC Porto, who lifted the famous trophy in Seville last month. The only entrants yet to be confirmed are the four Danish contenders, who will be known when the Super League season finishes this Sunday.
Aside from Crvena Zvezda of Serbia and Montenegro, two other sides that have tasted European glory are involved at this stage of the competition. Romanian team FC Steaua Bucuresti, European Champion Clubs' Cup winners in 1986, will meet FC Neman Grodno of Belarus while English side Manchester City FC, the 1970 holders of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, will take on Total Network Solutions FC of Wales in an all-British affair.
Other qualifying round ties to catch the eye include Swedish side AIK Solna against Nordic rivals Fylkir of Iceland while Bosnian club FK Sarejevo will know all about FK Sartid of Serbia and Montenegro. French side RC Lens, who played in last season's UEFA Champions League, have been drawn against FC Torpedo Kutaisi of Georgia.
The set dates for the 41 two-legged ties are 14 and 28 August. Aside from Lens and City, teams from Spain, Italy, England, Germany, France, Greece, Netherlands and Turkey all enter the UEFA Cup in the first round.
Champions League losers
In addition to these teams, the 16 losing sides in the Champions League third qualifying round will enter the competition in the first round, and the eight third-placed teams in the UEFA Champions League group stage will join in the third round. The UEFA Cup final will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden on 19 May 2004.
* To be confirmed at the end of the Danish season.
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