Papin faces tricky opening tie

Places in the UEFA Cup first round are on offer tonight with Jean-Pierre Papin hoping to avoid a banana skin in his first game since replacing Guy Roux at RC Lens.

A place in the first round of the UEFA Cup is the prize on offer for the 64 teams in European action on Thursday when Jean-Pierre Papin will hope to avoid a banana skin in his first game in charge of RC Lens.

Roux resignation
Papin faces a tricky tie against BSC Young Boys in his first match at the helm of the Ligue 1 club, whose previous coach Guy Roux resigned on Saturday having overseen a 1-1 first-leg draw in Switzerland. Anorthosis Famagusta FC, meanwhile, look the side most likely to spring a surprise as the Cypriot contenders, who have a history of taking big scalps in Europe, were 3-1 winners in Romania in the opening match of their tie against CFR 1907 Cluj.

Czech mate
Teams with UEFA Champions League experience are also in danger of bowing out in the second qualifying round with FK Austria Wien in peril after conceding vital away goals to Czech Republic side FK Jablonec 97 in their 4-3 first-leg win. Sweden's AIK Solna are also behind as they host Latvia's SK Liepajas Metalurgs looking to overturn a 3-2 deficit. FC Artmedia Petržalka were also losers two weeks ago when they went down 2-1 to Armenian outfit FC MIKA.

Honvéd hopeful
Hamburger SV will also have to be wary as Budapest Honvéd FC arrive in Germany off the back of a goalless draw in Hungary. PFC CSKA Sofia are another side facing tricky Cypriot opponents with AC Omonia hoping to build on their 1-1 draw at home in the first leg, while Aalborg BK will have to turn around a 2-1 deficit in Denmark if they are to get the better of HJK Helsinki.

Zrinjski fairytale
Finally, NK Zrinjski could complete a remarkable passage into the first round after being crushed 11-1 on aggregate by FK Partizan in the first qualifying round. Partizan were later expelled due to crowd violence and a 0-0 draw away against FK Rabotnicki in Skopje two weeks ago has given the Bosnia-Herzegovnian side a great chance to progress again.

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