Thursday, July 31, 2008

UCL : 3rd Qualifying Round Draw

The fate of our European season will take step into clarity tomorrow when UEFA conducts the draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round of the UEFA Champions League. It’s the first time since the 1998/1999 edition of the Champions League that Olympiacos has to qualify for the most prestigious European club competition. That year the club was paired with Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus, and easily emerged victors; however, the road to Rome might not have that easy of a kickoff. With the draw tougher than ever, and the lack of incoming transfers sees the team as one of the favorites primed to fall.

There is a good chance that Olympiacos will not have such a great draw, and personally I am a bit worried. Don’t question my confidence in the team, as I have plenty; however, I am aware of the threat posed by other clubs poised to resume the competition at this stage. The draw list was released earlier today and as expected Olympiacos is listed as a seeded club. Despite being seeded, their is room for a tough draw; with the likes of Atletico Madrid, Galatasaray and Twente left unseeded.

In all honesty, if the club is able to stay away from the above mentioned, there is a good chance the club could progress to the group sage of the competition. Obviously the game is not played on paper, which means the only thing heading into Friday is that Olympiacos wont be playing Panathinaikos or any of the other seeded clubs.

Seeded Clubs:

Liverpool (England)
Barcelona (Spain)
Arsenal (England)
Schalke 04 (Germany)
Juventus (Italy)
Rangers (Scotland) / Kaunas (Lithuania) * Clubs level 0-0.
Marseille (France)
Steaua Bucuresti (Romania)
Panathinaikos (Greece) / Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia) * Panathinaikos leads 3-0.
IFK Goteborg (Sweden) / Basel (Switzerland) * Clubs level 1-1.
Olympiacos (Greece)Fenerbahce (Turkey) / MTK Hungaria (Hungary) * Fenerbahce leads 2-0.
Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)Anderlecht (Belgium) / BATE (Belarus) * BATE leads 2-1.
Fiorentina (Italy)
Spartak Moscow (Russia)

Unseeded Clubs:

Atletico Madrid (Spain)
Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova) / Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) * Sparta Prague leads 1-0.
Drogheda United (Republic of Ireland) / Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) * Dynamo Kyive leads 2-1.
Levski Sofia (Bulgaria)
Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)
Galatasaray (Turkey)
Inter Baku (Azerbaijan) / Partizan (Serbia) * Clubs level 1-1.
Vitoria Guimaraes (Portugal)
Domzale (Slovenia) / Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) * Dinamo leads 3-0.
Beitar Jerusalem (Israel) / Wisla Krakow (Poland) * Beitar Jerusalem leads 2-1.
Standard Liege (Belgium)
Twente (Netherlands)
Tampere United (Finland) / Artmedia Petrzalka (Slovakia) * Artmedia leads 3-1.
Aalborg BK (Denmark) / Modrica (Bosnia Herzegovina) * Aalborg Bk leads 5-0.
Brann (Norway) / Ventspils (Latvia) * Brann leads 1-0
Anorthosis Famagusta (Cyprus) / Rapid Wien (Austria) * Anorthosis Famagusta leads 3-0.

*** Clubs that are still locked in a 2nd Qualifying Round tie are ranked based upon the higher coefficient of the two. The team progressing will be determined by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

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