Old hands hit road to group stage

Five former UEFA Champions League group stage contenders, including last year's surprise package FC BATE Borisov, begin their 2009/10 bids from tonight as the second qualifying round starts.

BATE progressed through qualifying last summer
BATE progressed through qualifying last summer ©Stoyan Georgiev

Five former UEFA Champions League group stage contenders, including last year's surprise package FC BATE Borisov, begin their 2009/10 bids this week as the second qualifying round kicks off with 34 clubs involved.

BATE trip
BATE defeated Valur Reykjavík, RSC Anderlecht and PFC Levski Sofia in qualifying last year to reach the competition proper; in the revamped qualifying progress this time they are among 32 sides given a bye to this stage. They are joined by first-round winners FK Mogren and UE Sant Julià, who meet former group stage contenders FC København and Levski respectively. Meanwhile, BATE go to FK Makedonija GP Skopje in their first leg, 2003/04 qualifiers FK Partizan travel to Rhyl FC and Maccabi Haifa FC, who reached the last 32 a year earlier, play Glentoran FC.

Qualifying path
The 17 winners progress to join Olympiacos CFP, SK Slavia Praha and FC Zürich in the third qualifying round Champions Path, with the draw taking place this Friday at 13.30CET and the ties on 28/29 July and 4/5 August. Five teams from this section of the draw will progress to the group stage following next month's play-offs alongside 22 automatic entrants and five from the separate Best-placed Path, with teams including UEFA Cup winners FC Shakhtar Donetsk featuring in that part of the third qualifying round draw on Friday.

Click here for all the second qualifying round fixtures
Click here to see which teams are competing in the UEFA Champions League this season, and at which stage they enter the competition.

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