SL Benfica and FC Basel are the unseeded stars of the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round draw.
The 32 teams in the hat know that victory will bring them a cherished place in this season's Champions League group stage, with the chance of then progressing to the first knockout round in the spring.
Among the 16 seeded sides are a group of stellar names with a wealth of European trophies between them. They include Real Madrid CF (Spain), Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC (England), Juventus FC and FC Internazionale (Italy), and last season's beaten finalists AS Monaco FC (France). European veterans such as PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), RC Deportivo La Coruña (Spain), FC Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) and Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Germany) are also seeded for the draw.
These luminaries will be joined by 16 unseeded clubs, some of whom will have fought their way through the early qualifying rounds this season, and who will dream of slaying one of the giants. Portuguese outfit SL Benfica, former European Champion Clubs' Cup winners, and Swiss champions FC Basel – who performed with distinction in the Champions League two years ago - are among the strongest sides in this list.
Following 2004/05 Champions League regulations, the UEFA administration seeds teams for the third qualifying round in accordance with the club rankings established at the beginning of the season.
If any club in the second qualifying round has an individual coefficient which entitles it to be seeded in the third qualifying round, the winner of the second qualifying round match involving that club is automatically seeded for the third qualifying round draw.
Three positions among the seeded sides are affected by this decision. The winners of the second qualifying round games featuring Club Brugge KV, AC Sparta Praha and Rosenborg BK are seeded for the third qualifying round draw because of the high individual club coefficient of the three teams. Clubs from the same association must not be drawn against each other.
At the draw, the 16 balls containing the seeded teams will be placed in one bowl and the 16 balls containing the sides that are not seeded will be placed in another bowl. A ball will be taken from each bowl and put in an empty bowl in the middle, where they will be shuffled. The first team drawn will play its first match at home, against the second side drawn. This procedure will be repeated until all the pairings have been made.
In the event of a clash between two clubs from the same football association, the club drawn second will be put on hold. In their place, another ball from the corresponding group pot (seeded or not) will be drawn. The ball put on hold will then be moved to the next match and placed as the visiting team. Another ball will then be drawn from the other group pot (seeded or not) and placed as the home team of this game. If the clash occurs with the last two clubs drawn, the club drawn second will be switched with the corresponding seeded or non-seeded team of Match 1.