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Preview: Champions League play-off first legs

The key stats from the six ties that will complete this season's UEFA Champions League group stage line-up.

PAOK take on Benfica in the play-offs
PAOK take on Benfica in the play-offs ©AFP

The UEFA Champions League group stage is within touching distance for the ten survivors from the qualifying rounds plus Young Boys and PSV Eindhoven, who enter the competition at this stage.

UEFA.com looks at the vital statistics ahead of the opening legs of their play-off ties.

Benfica v PAOK(Tuesday, 21:00CET)

The Eagles will be keen to make amends for last season's group campaign – they lost all six matches – while PAOK are still waiting to test themselves against Europe's elite at that stage.

  • Benfica are aiming to reach the group stage for a ninth successive season
  • The Portuguese side have, however, only experienced the play-offs once, overcoming Twente in 2011/12
  • All four of PAOK's previous UEFA Champions League forays have ended in the qualifying rounds
  • The Greek outfit have taken two notable scalps to reach this juncture, beating Basel 5-1 on aggregate and Spartak Moskva 3-2 over two matches
PSV, entering the competition at this stage, beat Manchester United in 2015/16
PSV, entering the competition at this stage, beat Manchester United in 2015/16©Getty Images

BATE Borisov v PSV Eindhoven(Tuesday, 21:00CET)

Both these sides have experienced fleeting highs in the group stage in recent seasons with BATE beating Roma and PSV helping knock out Manchester United in 2015/16.

  • BATE have won 12 consecutive Belarusian titles and already come through ties against HJK Helsinki and Qarabağ this season
  • They are also specialists in the play-offs, having won all four previous UEFA Champions League ones and three of their four in the UEFA Europa League.
  • PSV are without a win in their last ten European games (D4 L6), dating back to a 2-1 win against CSKA Moskva in December 2015
  • The Dutch side's only play-off appearance was in 2013/14 when they succumbed 4-1 on aggregate to AC Milan

Crvena zvezda v Salzburg (Tuesday, 21:00CET)

Despite both sides reaching a European final in the 1990s, this pairing has the least group stage experience between them – Salzburg's 1994/95 campaign is the only showing.

Crvena Zvezda were European champions in 1991
Crvena Zvezda were European champions in 1991©Getty Images
  • Crvena zvezda lost in the third qualifying round in all of their six previous UEFA Champions League quests
  • The Belgrade outfit have lost just once in their last 12 European home matches (W7 D4), conceding only five goals in the process
  • Salzburg's recent record is arguably even more impressive – they have only been beaten twice in their last 25 European games (W15 D8)
  • Since that sole group stage journey, the Austrian side have made 12 unsuccessful attempts to return

Ajax v Dynamo Kyiv (Wednesday, 21:00CET)

In contrast to the last tie, this pairing has the most experience in the competition with Ajax veterans of 19 previous campaigns and Dynamo Kyiv no less than 23.

  • These clubs have only met once in Europe and it was at this stage in 2010/11, Ajax advancing 3-2 on aggregate
  • The Dutch side last made it out of their group in 2005/06 and have failed to finish in the top two five times since
  • The Ukrainian team are bidding to play in the group stage for the 17th time
  • Dynamo won on their last two visits to the Netherlands, at Feyenoord in 2012/13 and AZ Alkmaar in 2010/11

Vidi v AEK Athens (Wednesday, 21:00CET)

Only two Hungarian clubs have ever made it to the UEFA Champions League group stage. Greece has had more frequent representation but AEK have not been amongst them since the 2006/07 season.

Young Boys were knocked out by Gareth Bale's Tottenham in 2010/11
Young Boys were knocked out by Gareth Bale's Tottenham in 2010/11©Getty Images
  • Vidi, formerly known as Videoton, were eliminated in the second and third qualifying rounds in their only previous attempts to reach the group stage
  • The Hungarian club have lost only one of their last nine European games (W3 D5)
  • AEK won their 12th Greek title last season but their first since 1994
  • The Greek side's 2-1 win against Celtic in the last round ended a run of eight successive draws in European competition

Young Boys v Dinamo Zagreb (Wednesday, 21:00CET)

These sides have experienced drastically contrasting fortunes in previous play-offs and the Swiss side will be hoping to overcome the weight of history to reach a maiden group stage.

  • Young Boys won their 12th Swiss title last season, ending a drought dating back to 1986
  • This is YB's sixth UEFA Champions League campaign – they have succumbed on all four occasions they have reached the play-offs
  • Dinamo's record at this stage is W4 L1 and they have also won three of their four UEFA Europa League play-offs.
  • Dinamo are now unbeaten in eight European matches (W4 D4), having lost their previous six

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