No easy routes to 2008/09 glory

The draw for the 2008/09 UEFA Women's Cup has been made and former quarter-finalists Valur Reykjavík and AC Sparta Praha have been given testing tasks.

Valur were just pipped to another quarter-final last season
Valur were just pipped to another quarter-final last season ©

Valur task
Only the winners of the nine first qualifying round groups, played from 4-9 September, will move into October's second qualifying round, to which the top seven ranked teams of the 43 entrants have been given a bye. In that first round Valur, whose line is led by the prolific Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir, will travel to Slovakia to meet FK Slovan Duslo Šaľa, Israel's Maccabi Holon FC and Cardiff City LFC. And the team which tops Group A5 must then take on last season's runners-up Umeå IK and semi-finalists ASD CF Bardolino Verona and finish in the top two of Group B2 if they wish to make the last eight.

Second stage
It is no less tough for Sparta, who are in Group A3 with Macedonian hosts ŽFK Skiponjat, Levante UD and KV Tienen, who are aiming to repeat the quarter-final run of last season's Belgian entrants FCL Rapide Wezemaal. However, the winners of that pool will have to take on Group B4 top seeds Brøndby IF, who have made the knockout rounds four times, and German newcomers FCR 2001 Duisburg, given their chance as compatriots 1. FFC Frankfurt are the UEFA Women's Cup holders. Frankfurt are in second qualifying round Group B1, awaiting the winners of three first-stage pools. Guaranteed their places in Group B3 are 2006/07 champions Arsenal LFC and the team that deposed them in last season's quarter-finals on their tournament debut, Olympique Lyonnais.

Knockout rounds
The draw for the knockout rounds is already decided, and should Frankfurt and Umeå win both their groups and their quarter-finals, they will meet in the last four next spring. Frankfurt could even have a last-eight encounter with league rivals Duisburg should one top their group and the other finish second. The quarter-finals are played over two legs in November, with the last four in late March and early April and the final, also a home and away affair, on 16 and 23 May.

2008/09 UEFA Women's Cup first qualifying round: 4-9 September
Hosts in bold
Group A1Group A2Group A3
Zvezda-2005 (RUS)
ŽFK Mašinac Niš (SRB)
AC Sparta Praha (CZE)
1. FC Femina Budapest (HUN)
AZ Alkmaar (NED)
Levante UD (ESP)
Gintra Universitetas (LTU)
FC Narta Chisinau (MDA)
KVK Tienen (BEL)
Klaksvíkar Ítrottarfelag (FRO)Glasgow City LFC (SCO)
ŽFK Skiponjat (MKD)
Group A4Group A5Group A6
Røa IL (NOR)
Valur Reykjavík (ISL)
FC NSA Sofia (BUL)
Maccabi Holon FC (ISR)
CFF Clujana (ROU)
FC Honka Espoo (FIN)
Cardiff City LFC (WAL)
NK Osijek (CRO)
FC Iveria (GEO)
FK Slovan Duslo Šaľa (SVK)
Glentoran Belfast United (NIR)
Group A7Group A8Group A9
SV Neulengbach (AUT)AZS Wrocław (POL)
WFC Universitet Vitebsk (BLR)
SU 1° Dezembro (POR) FC PAOK (GRE)
ŽNK SFK 2000 Sarajevo (BIH)
ŽNK KRKA Novo Mesto (SVN)
Naftokhimik (UKR)
FC Zürich Frauen (SUI)
Vamos Idaliou (CYP)
FC Levadia Tallinn (EST) Galway LFC (IRL)

2008/09 UEFA Women's Cup second qualifying round: 9-14 October
Hosts tbc
Group B1Group B2
1. FFC Frankfurt (GER, holders) Umeå IK (SWE)
Winners Group A2
ASD CF Bardolino Verona (ITA)
Winners Group A1 Winners Group A5
Winners Group A4 Winners Group A6
Group B3Group B4
Arsenal LFC (ENG)
Brøndby IF (DEN)
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)
FCR 2001 Duisburg (GER)
Winners Group A9 Winners Group A3
Winners Group A7 Winners Group A8

2008/09 UEFA Women's Cup knockout rounds (first team named home in first leg)
Quarter-finals: 5/6 & 12/13 November
1: Runners-up Group B4 v Winners Group B1
2: Runners-up Group B3 v Winners Group B2
3: Runners-up Group B2 v Winners Group B3
4: Runners-up Group B1 v Winners Group B4
Semi-finals: 28/29 March & 4/5 April
1: Winners Quarter-final 1 v Winners Quarter-final 2
2: Winners Quarter-final 3 v Winners Quarter-final 4
Final: 16 & 23 May
Winners Semi-final 1 v Winners Semi-final 2