The UEFA Cup second qualifying round draw prompted much scratching of heads, with only one of the 32 pairs of teams having played each other before.
The UEFA Cup second qualifying round draw prompted much scratching of heads, with only one of the 32 pairs of teams having played each other before in UEFA club competition. Apart from Olympique de Marseille and BSC Young Boys, who faced off in last season's UEFA Intertoto Cup, the 62 other clubs enter their ties with a clean slate and plenty of research to do.
FK Ventspils v Newcastle United FC
Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder said he would call former Latvia coach Gary Johnson to get the lowdown on Ventspils. "I know him very well and I'll be ringing him to see what I can find out about this team. It's a trip into the unknown for us, but one thing for certain is that we will prepare thoroughly for these two matches. We obviously need to do our homework and find out about this team as quickly as we can."
Hertha BSC Berlin v FC Ameri Tbilisi
Hertha coach Falko Götz said his scouts had plenty of work on their hands ahead of the first leg. "Ameri are opponents we don't know much about yet, so our scouts have to collect information about them. We will certainly be favourites and will have no choice but to go through to the next round."
Gretna FC v Derry City FC
"It's just fantastic," said Gretna manager Rowan Alexander. "Five or six years ago we were playing non-league football in the Unibond League and now here we are rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in European football." Derry City captain Peter Hutton is also looking forward to the tie. "It's a great draw for the club, Scotland is easy to get to from Derry and we should have massive support. We will be confident of winning but we'll treat Gretna with respect."
Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC v PFC Lokomotiv Sofia
"I cannot say anything about Bnei Yehuda as I do not know the team at all," Sofia coach Stefan Grozdanov said. "During our summer preparations in Germany we met teams from Israel and we did well. If Bnei Yehuda are on that level, I will be optimistic for the tie."
FC Dinamo 1848 Bucuresti v Beitar Jerusalem FC
Dinamo coach Mircea Rednic said he knew Beitar fairly well. "I have enough information about Beitar Jerusalem because this summer we wanted to sign an Israeli international from them. I also know there has been some big investment in the club. It's a good draw for us and for the goals we want to achieve."
KSV Roeselare v Ethnikos Achnas FC
The Cypriot team's assistant coach Spyros Kastanas confessed that Roeselare are hardly a familiar adversary. "We do not really know too much about our opponents. Obviously, football in Belgium is at a higher level than in Cyprus so we have to be ready. We will do what is necessary to find out about this team but at this stage, everything is a bonus regardless of what happens in the two legs."
FK Karvan Evlakh v SK Slavia Praha
Slavia coach Karel Jarolím is confident his side will progress. "We know absolutely nothing about our opponents, but I think we should get past them," he said. "I'm a little afraid of the hot weather there, as I remember playing in the country against FK Shamkir five years ago. It was so hot even walking was difficult."
AC Omonia v PFC Litex Lovech
Litex have been handed a tough assignment, according to their coach Ljupko Petrović. "The draw was not kind to us at all. But that is our fate. Omonia are a famous club with a rich tradition. They have some good players and it will not be easy for us, but the good thing is the second leg is at home."
SV Mattersburg v Wisla Kraków
Mattersburg coach Franz Lederer focused on the positives after his side were handed a tough draw. "It is positive to have the first leg at home even if we're not yet sure where we'll play. Wisla might not be the most glamorous opponents but they are difficult to beat. They have a strong team and were runners-up in Poland. We want to show them we can play football as well."