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Balls racked up for first draw

The long road to the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League final begins on Monday with 36 European domestic league winners in the draws for the first two qualifying rounds of the competition.

Balls racked up for first draw
Balls racked up for first draw ©UEFA.com

The long road to the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League final begins on Monday when the draws for the first two qualifying rounds of the competition are held in Nyon, with UEFA.com streaming it all live.

Just 30 days after FC Internazionale Milano were crowned kings of Europe 36 pretenders to their throne will learn what awaits them on the road to Wembley, London next May. Some boast genuine pedigree, with Debreceni VSC one of three clubs to advance from the second qualifying round to the group stage in 2009/10. Rosenborg BK participated in the group phase 11 times between 1995 to 2006 while FC BATE Borisov, so impressive on their UEFA Champions League debut two years ago, beat AEK Athens FC and Everton in last term's UEFA Europa League.

Moldovan titleholders for the last decade, FC Sheriff came close to the coveted group stage 12 months ago before being edged out by Olympiacos FC in the play-offs. Yet they gained valuable experience in the UEFA Europa League as they beat FC Twente and twice held 1986 European champions FC Steaua Bucureşti. FC Salzburg also impressed in the competition, winning six out of six before last-32 elimination.

For some these are tentative first steps, and FC Koper, FK Renova and FK Rudar Pljevlja will all make UEFA Champions League qualifying bows after maiden championships. For Koper and Renova in particular, reaching this stage is an achievement in itself. Slovenian champions Koper came within minutes of being relegated in 2008/09, while it is only eight years since Renova started life in the very bottom rung of the league system in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

They will provide unknown quantities when the draw for the second round is made at UEFA headquarters, from 12.00CET, with two-legged ties to be staged on 13/14 and 20/21 July. It will be preceded by the first qualifying round, featuring Montenegrin champions Rudar and counterparts in Malta, Andorra and San Marino – ties take place on 29/30 June and 6/7 July.

Draw procedure
Balls containing sides seeded according to club rankings established at the beginning of the season will be placed in one bowl, with balls of the unseeded clubs placed in another. A ball will be taken from each and placed in a large empty bowl in the middle, where they will be shuffled. The first team drawn will play its first match at home, against the second team drawn.

UEFA Champions League first qualifying round
1FC Santa Coloma (AND)Birkirkara FC (MLT)
2SP Tre Fiori (SMR)FK Rudar Pljevlja (MNE)


UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
Group 1
1AC Sparta Praha (CZE)FC Levadia Tallinn (EST)
2FK Partizan (SRB)SK Liepājas Metalurgs (LVA)
3Lech Poznań (POL)FC Olimpi Rustavi (GEO)
4Debreceni VSC (HUN)FC Pyunik (ARM)
5FK Aktobe (KAZ)FC Inter Bakı (AZE)
Group 2
1Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)FK Željezničar (BIH)
2PFC Litex Lovech (BUL)FC Koper (SVN)
3NK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)FK Renova (MKD)
4MŠK Žilina (SVK)KS Dinamo Tirana (ALB)
5FC Sheriff (MDA)Winners of Match 1
6AC Omonia (CYP)Winners of Match 2
Group 3
1Rosenborg BK (NOR)HJK Helsinki (FIN)
2FC Salzburg (AUT)FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL)
3FC BATE Borisov (BLR)HB Tórshavn (FRO)
4AIK Solna (SWE)The New Saints FC (WAL)
5Bohemian FC (IRL)Linfield FC (NIR)
6FK Ekranas (LTU)AS Jeunesse Esch (LUX)