Contenders ready themselves for action

VfB Stuttgart, Beşiktaş JK and Aston Villa FC are among 64 teams that will be battling it out on Thursday night when the UEFA Cup second qualifying round kicks off.

Stuttgart are one of the big clubs in the second qualifying round
Stuttgart are one of the big clubs in the second qualifying round ©Getty Images

The UEFA Cup second qualifying stage gets under way this Thursday with 64 teams battling it out to make the first round.

Split draw
The clubs are split into regional groups and the draw, which took place on 1 August, includes the likes of VfB Stuttgart, Beşiktaş JK, Aston Villa FC and Rosenborg BK. Former European champions Villa are in the northern section, and travel to Iceland for their first leg with FH Hafnarfjördur while fellow UEFA Intertoto Cup winners and seasoned continental campaigners Rosenborg make the short trip to Sweden to face Djurgårdens IF FF. Manchester City FC, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup champions in 1970, welcome one of four Danish sides competing at this stage of the competition, FC Midtjylland.

Central matchups
In the central and eastern region, BSC Young Boys take on Debreceni VSC and Stuttgart also entertain Hungarian visitors in the form of Győri ETO FC. The second German side in the draw, Hertha BSC Berlin, journey to Slovenia to play NK IB Ljubljana while three-time UEFA Champions League group stage contenders SK Sturm Graz hop across the border for a tie with FC Zürich. Polish outfit Legia Warszawa also face off against a club from a neighbouring country as they prepare for the arrival of FC Moskva.

Southern highlights
Highlights from the southern selection include the only previous winners of the UEFA Cup, SSC Napoli, as they head to Albania to play KS Vllaznia. Croatian giants HNK Hadjuk Split travel to Spain for their tie with RC Deportivo La Coruña while 1991 European Champions Clubs' Cup winners FK Crvena Zvezda are also away from home, but not going so far, as they take on Cypriot side APOEL FC. Beşiktaş head to Bosnia-Herzegovina to play NK Široki Brijeg and AEK Athens FC visit AC Omonia.

2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round draw
First leg:
14 August
Second leg: 28 August
NK Široki Brijeg (BIH) vBeşiktaş JK (TUR)
SC Braga (POR)vNK Zrinjski (BIH)
PFC Lokomotiv Sofia (BUL)vFK Borac (SRB)
FK Vojvodina (SRB)vHapoel Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)
Aris Thessaloniki FC (GRE)vNK Slaven Koprivnica (CRO)
PFC Litex Lovech (BUL)vHapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona FC (ISR)
RC Deportivo La Coruña (ESP)vHNK Hajduk Split (CRO)
APOEL FC (CYP)vFK Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
KS Vllaznia (ALB)vSSC Napoli (ITA)
Maccabi Netanya FC (ISR)vPFC Cherno More Varna (BUL)
AC Omonia (CYP)vAEK Athens FC (GRE)
SK Liepájas Metalurgs (LVA)vSC Vaslui (ROU)
FC Zürich (SUI)vSK Sturm Graz (AUT)
VfB Stuttgart (GER)vGyőri ETO FC (HUN)
KKS Lech Poznań (POL)vGrasshopper-Club (SUI)
FC Slovan Liberec (CZE)vMŠK Žilina (SVK)
FC WIT Georgia (GEO)vFK Austria Wien (AUT)
BSC Young Boys (SUI)vDebreceni VSC (HUN)
Legia Warszawa (POL)vFC Moskva (RUS)
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR)vAC Bellinzona (SUI)
NK IB Ljubljana (SVN)vHertha BSC Berlin (GER)
FK Sūduva (LTU)vFC Salzburg (AUT)
Djurgårdens IF FF (SWE)vRosenborg BK (NOR)
Queen of the South FC (SCO)vFC Nordsjælland (DEN)
KAA Gent (BEL)vKalmar FF (SWE)
Manchester City FC (ENG)vFC Midtjylland (DEN)
FC Honka Espoo (FIN)vViking FK (NOR)
FC Haka (FIN)vBrøndby IF (DEN)
Stabæk IF (NOR)vStade Rennais FC (FRA)
FC København (DEN)vLillestrøm SK (NOR)
IF Elfsborg (SWE)vSaint Patrick's Athletic FC (IRL)
FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL)vAston Villa FC (ENG)