Beşiktaş JK and Olympiacos FC are preparing for the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, with giant-killing likely to be the sport of choice for many other contenders.
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Regulars in the UEFA Champions League in recent years, Beşiktaş JK and Olympiacos FC are among the next batch of teams who will be competing in the UEFA Europa League, with the lineup for the second qualifying round now complete.
Beşiktaş, who won their 13th Turkish title in 2008/09, are already aware of what awaits them, with Faroese side Vikingur looking to clip the Black Eagles' wings in Istanbul next Thursday. Olympiacos also know their destiny, with the 37-time Greek champions likely to be the cause of some excitement when they visit Albania for the opening leg of their tie against KS Besa.
FK Mogren's first qualifying round success against UE Santa Coloma has earned them a plum tie against Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC, while NK Široki Brijeg beat NK Olimpija Ljubljana to set up a game against FK Austria Wien, group stage contenders last season. Elsewhere, Dundalk FC's first European game at Oriel Park in almost 20 years ended in a 2-1 success – and a 5-4 aggregate victory – against CS Grevenmacher. The Irish side thus earned the right to play Bulgaria's PFC Levski Sofia.
In 2009/10, Hamburger SV got to within a game of playing in the UEFA Europa League final in their home city, bowing out to Fulham FC in the semi-finals. With this season's competition concluding in Dublin, two second qualifying round entrants have a long shot chance of going all the way; Shamrock Rovers FC, who play Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC, and Sporting Fingal FC, who start off away against Portugal's CS Marítimo.
Meanwhile, the second qualifying round marks the beginning – and potentially the end – of Liechtenstein's involvement in the 2010/11 UEFA club season. Liechtenstein Cup winners FC Vaduz, who play their league football in Switzerland, are the small nation's only representatives in Europe, and will hope to set out their stall in a tricky opener at Brøndby IF.
The draw for the third qualifying round will take place in Nyon on 16 July at 13.30CET, with Liverpool FC, Juventus and Galatasaray AŞ among the next batch of European giants to enter the fray.