Former UEFA Women's Cup semi-finalists Brøndby IF will host Portugal's SU 1° Dezembro, Wales's Cardiff City LFC and Malta's Birkirkara FC in the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying round while European debutants FC Bayern München go to Lithuania to take onGintra Universitetas, Glasgow City LFC and Georgian side Norchi Dinamoeli after the first draw for the relaunched competition was made by UEFA President Michel Platini, UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti and head of national team competitions Mikael Salzer in Nyon on Wednesday.
Replacing the UEFA Women's Cup, which was first contested in 2001/02, the new competition features for the first time the eight runners-up from the top-ranked nations, all of whom – including Brøndby and Bayern – begin in the seven one-venue qualifying round groups from 30 July until 4 August. Another name familiar from men's UEFA competition, Everton LFC, have a tough group in Croatia against WFC Osijek, Norwegian runners-up Team Strømmen FK and FC Levadia Tallinn, while Bayern's fellow continental newcomers Linköpings FC of Sweden welcome CFF Clujana of Romania, Moldova's FC Roma Calfa and Northern Irish champions Glentoran Belfast United. Meanwhile, 2005/06 semi-finalists Montpellier Hérault SC take on FC NSA Sofia, Klaksvíkar Ítrottarfelag KÍ from the Faroe Islands and Macedonian hosts ZFK Tikvesanka.
The seven mini-tournament winners will progress to join the 25 other entrants, including final UEFA Women's Cup holders FCR 2001 Duisburg, in the knockout phase of the competition, with the draws for the Round of 32 and Round of 16 made at 12.00CET on 14 August. In another innovation, the final will be played as a one-off match two days before the men's UEFA Champions League final in the same city, with the 2009/10 decider scheduled for Thursday 20 May in Madrid. For a full season calendar and explanation of the format click here.
*Will be renamed Lillestrøm SK Kvinner on 1 January 2010.
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