Giants prepare for qualifying hurdles

The second qualifying round continues tonight with 2007/08 quarter-finalists Fenerbahçe SK and UEFA Cup runners-up Rangers FC among those entering the fray.

Fenerbahçe limber up to meet MTK Budapest
Fenerbahçe limber up to meet MTK Budapest ©Fenerbahçe SK

Fenerbahçe enter
Fourteen teams have entered at this stage, joined by the same number of clubs that won through from the first qualifying round over the last two weeks. Fenerbahçe, now under UEFA EURO 2008™-winning coach Luis Aragonés, finished second in Turkey last season and are involved in one of two ties involving teams entering at this round as they welcome MTK Budapest, with Beitar Jerusalem FC meeting Wisła Kraków the other. Aragonés, who turned 70 on Monday, said: "We respect MTK Budapest and their performance, but we are strong enough to defeat them in order to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. We really want to move forward, so I expect a strong performance from my players."

Rangers bow
Several other big names come into the competition today. Rangers, who reached the UEFA Cup final after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group last season, are at home to FBK Kaunas, 1971 European Cup finalists Panathinaikos FC welcome 1981 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners FC Dinamo Tbilisi, RSC Anderlecht – who lost in qualifying to Fenerbahçe 12 months ago – play FC BATE Borisov and two-time UEFA Cup holders IFK Göteborg play FC Basel 1893.

Sparta begin
Among other former group stage contenders, AC Sparta Praha travel to FC Sheriff, champions of Moldova for the last eight years, SK Rapid Wien visit Anorthosis Famagusta FC, Danish champions Aalborg BK play Bosnia-Herzegovina's FK Modriča, Slovakian title-holders FC Artmedia Petržalka go to Tampere United of Finland and NK Dinamo Zagreb are away to Slovenian champions NK Domžale.

Tuesday ties
Three ties were played last night. FC Dynamo Kyiv won 2-1 at Drogheda United FC, SK Brann defeated FK Ventspils 1-0 and FK İnter Bakı held FK Partizan 1-1 in Azerbaijan. All the second legs are played next week, but before that all these sides learn their potential third qualifying round opponents when the draw is made on Friday.

2008/09 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
(first named team at home in opening leg)
First leg:
tonight(*played last night)
Second leg: 6 August (*5 August)
Rangers FC (SCO)vFBK Kaunas (LTU)*
SK Brann (NOR)*1-0
FK Ventspils (LVA)*
FK İnter Bakı (AZE)*1-1
FK Partizan (SRB)
Tampere United (FIN)vFC Artmedia Petržalka (SVK)
Anorthosis Famugusta (CYP)vSK Rapid Wien (AUT)
NK Domžale (SVN)vNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)
Panathinaikos FC (GRE)vFC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
IFK Göteborg (SWE)vFC Basel 1893 (SUI)
FC Sheriff (MDA)vAC Sparta Praha (CZE)
Drogheda United FC (IRL)*1-2
FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
RSC Anderlecht (BEL)vFC BATE Borisov (BLR)
Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISR)vWisla Kraków (POL)
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)vMTK Budapest (HUN)
Aalborg BK (DEN) vFK Modriča (BIH)