Portuguese runners-up SC Braga were paired with Celtic FC in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round and four-time winners AFC Ajax meet PAOK FC after today's draw in Nyon.
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Four-time winners AFC Ajax will play PAOK FC in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round and debutants SC Braga meet Celtic FC after the draw was made in Nyon today.
The last two rounds before the group stage run along two lines: the Champions Route for nations whose title winners do not go straight into the competition proper − including the teams progressing from 17 second qualifying round ties which conclude next week − and the League Route. Only three of the 20 places in the Champions Route section of the third qualifying round are therefore decided, though after a 5-1 first-leg win FC BATE Borisov may begin preparing to meet FC København.
The five League Route ties on 27/28 July and 3/4 August are already known. Ajax meet PAOK, Braga encounter Celtic and the other debutants, KAA Gent, have been paired with group-stage regulars FC Dynamo Kyiv. BSC Young Boys take on Fenerbahçe SK, while FC Unirea Urziceni must overcome 2008 UEFA Cup winners FC Zenit St. Petersburg.
The winners of the five League Route ties will join AJ Auxerre, Sevilla FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC, UC Sampdoria and Werder Bremen in August's play-off round. Similarly, the ten Champions Route winners will meet each other at the same stage, with draws to take place on 6 August and games scheduled for 17/18 and 24/25 August.
In all, ten clubs will join the 22 automatic group-stage entrants, including holders FC Internazionale Milano, nine-time winners Real Madrid CF and Turkish debutants Bursaspor. The 2011 UEFA Champions League final will be held at London's Wembley Stadium on 28 May.