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Preview: Wednesday's Champions League play-offs

Basel host Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Valencia entertain Monaco, Celtic meet Malmö, Rapid Wien tackle Shakhtar Donetsk and Skënderbeu play Dinamo Zagreb in Wednesday's play-off first legs.

Mircea Lucescu steered Shakhtar to the round of 16 last season
Mircea Lucescu steered Shakhtar to the round of 16 last season ©AFP/Getty Images

Basel v Maccabi Tel-Aviv
• Basel and Maccabi met four times in the course of the 2013/14 season; Murat Yakin's Basel eliminated Paulo Sousa's team from the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, then ousted them from the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• In ten matches between Swiss and Israeli clubs in UEFA competition, the Israeli side has won just once, with the Swiss claiming five victories.

Urs Fischer, Basel coach
It has no bearing that we have eliminated them twice in the past. These are two new matches – the teams have changed, the coaches have changed and it's a whole new situation. It makes no sense to look to the past. I don't feel any special tension in the team, but maybe that's because we are in a rhythm of playing and regenerating.

Slaviša Jokanović, Maccabi coach
Many people think this tie is a foregone conclusion and we can do nothing here, but I don't believe this. We have a great chance, we have shown our quality in other games. We will try to get a good result before playing the second leg in Tel Aviv. A lot of people don't give us a chance of playing in the Champions League, but I do and so do my players. It is not yet time to surrender.

Valencia v AS Monaco
• Under Bernardino Pérez (aka Pasieguito), holders Valencia beat Gérard Banide's Monaco 5-3 on aggregate in the 1980/81 European Cup Winners' Cup first round.
• Valencia had won all eight previous home games against French opposition prior to a 2-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League round of 16.

Nuno Espírito Santo, Valencia coach
There is nothing more important than the game against Monaco – we have taken our time preparing for what is a crucial match. This is the best tie of the round: Valencia and Monaco are two 'Champions League teams' because of the quality of the players. We are very strong when we are united and our opponents will feel the force of that. I hope I can say after this match that we have taken a big step towards the group stage.

2003/04 group stage: Monaco 8-3 Deportivo
2003/04 group stage: Monaco 8-3 Deportivo

Leonardo Jardim, Monaco coach
We have spent seven weeks working [together] and we've played four official fixtures. We have important absentees, but we must think about solutions. We must make the most of the players we have available and who we believe will get us a result. Teams look at us differently after last season [Monaco reached the quarter-finals, losing to Juventus].

Celtic v Malmö
• Celtic will be up against former player Jo Inge Berget, a one-time charge of Ronny Deila's at Strømsgodset, who spent part of last term on loan in Glasgow but joined Malmö from Cardiff City in January.
• Without captain Markus Rosenberg through suspension for this first leg, Malmö coach Åge Hareide and striker Nikola Djurdjić were on the losing side when Celtic felled Helsingborg in the 2012/13 play-offs.

Ronny Deila, Celtic coach
We're meeting a good team. Malmö have done well in the last two or three years. I have a lot of respect for them. They're developing good players. Some have left the club but they're still developing good players from the academy. Our goal is the Champions League [group stage]. We are two games away. We have to be our best. If we do that and don't succeed, then we're not good enough.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
Celtic manager Ronny Deila©Getty Images

Åge Hareide, Malmö coach
Markus Rosenberg, as captain, is very good at telling the younger players that this is possible. We only have three players left from last season. He can tell them there's nothing to fear, to stick to the tactics and to do the job. Player to player, from goalkeeper to main striker, we'll be very equal [to Celtic].

Rapid Wien v Shakhtar Donetsk
• Rapid are unbeaten in four home matches against Ukrainian teams (W3 D1) since a 4-1 home reverse to Dynamo Kyiv in the 1985/86 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals.
• The Pitmen are without defender Ivan Ordets and forward Wellington Nem. Shakhtar's only previous visits to Austria both ended in defeat: they crashed 5-1 to Austria Wien in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup first round and then – under Mircea Lucescu – went down 1-0 at Salzburg in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Zoran Barisic, Rapid coach
We are pleased we are playing in front of such a big crowd; the support will be vital because Shakhtar are favourites. A huge challenge awaits but we have everything to gain. They do not have any major weaknesses and are very stable, but we can take the next step – we believe we can do great things.

Watch: five great Shakhtar victories
Watch: five great Shakhtar victories

Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
Rapid eliminated Ajax, a team with a lot of quality and Champions League experience, so therefore they are able to beat any side in the competition. I do not want to talk about their organisation, but they score lots of goals. On the other hand, at times they are not particularly confident at the back and concede goals too. 

Skënderbeu v Dinamo Zagreb
• Skënderbeu are through to their first play-off and are sure to make Albanian history, since they will become the first Albanian club to appear in a major UEFA competition group stage regardless of the outcome against Dinamo.
• The trip has special meaning for Dinamo's 18-year-old Albanian midfielder Endri Çekiçi: "My father played for Skënderbeu when I was a kid, but there is no doubt which club he will support now. Dinamo Zagreb and his son, of course!"

Mirel Josa, Skënderbeu coach
Skënderbeu have been working hard in the last five years and are here because of the effort they have put in. We will play against a great side, Dinamo Zagreb, a team with tradition and known across the Balkans. We know that this stage of the competition is difficult and that the level of our opponents keeps rising, but we've got this far through hard work and some great performances.

Zoran Mamić, Dinamo coach
We need to be aware that they are top of their league and that they are in form; the Albanian national team are doing well and Albanian football is improving. It's an honour and privilege to be in this phase of the competition, but we are not running from the fact we are the favourites here. The outcome will come down to how we play.

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