2010-11 UEFA Champions League: Play-off Round Preview

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2010-11 UEFA Champions League: Play-off Round Preview

The play-off round will be split into two separate sections: one for champions and one for non-champions.

The first legs are to be played on 17 and 18 August, and the second legs are to be played on 24 and 25 August 2010.

The losing teams in both sections will enter the group stage of the Europa League.

Of course, the winning teams will advance will enter the group stage of the Champions League.

This change in the Champions League qualification system gave better chances to smaller teams to advance to the group stage of the Champions League competition.

The following teams are already in the group stage: Inter, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Milan, Lyon, Real Madrid, Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica, Valencia, Marseille, Panathinaikos, Rangers, Schalke 04, Spartak Moscow, Twente, Rubin Kazan, Cluj, and Bursaspor.

 

CHAMPIONS PATH

Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) - Hapoel Tel-Aviv (Israel)

Salzburg will have to do their best if they want to advance to the group stage of the CL. Salzburg is a minor favorite in this match, but Hapoel can surprise us.

 

Rosenborg (Norway) - Copenhagen (Denmark)

This Scandinavian derby is the most interesting match in the champions path. Both teams have what it takes to advance, but Rosenborg have better experience in the Champions League so my vote goes to them.

 

Basel (Switzerland) - Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova)

Basel have a great chance here. Sheriff already made a miracle by beating Croatian champion Dinamo Zagreb on penalties. Sheriff is a really talented team, and Basel just can't underestimate them.

 

Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) - Žilina (Slovakia)

Sparta Prague is a better team than Žilina, but they need to prove that on the field. Sparta is a favorite, and they will do anything to get back in the group stage of the CL.

 

Partizan (Serbia) - Anderlecht (Belgium)

This matchup will be pretty intense. Both teams came by destroying easy teams. Anderlecht may be a minor favorite, but a surprise is possible here.

 

NON-CHAMPIONS PATH

Young Boy (Switzerland) - Tottenham (England)

Tottenham got really lucky in this draw, and they should go through without any problems. Young Boy did manage to kick out big Fenerbahce, but Tottenham is a much bigger team.

 

Braga (Portugal) - Sevilla (Spain)

The Portuguese team beat Celtic, which was a little surprise. Sevilla should take care of Braga and go to the CL group stage. Braga will need a miracle to beat Sevilla.

 

Werder Bremen (Germany) - Sampdoria (Italy)

This the most interesting matchup of the non-champions path. Sampdoria is a really good team, and they had a great last season. So did Werder Bremen, but Sampdoria is a slight favorite.

 

Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia) - Auxerre (France)

The Russians could provide us a surprise here. Auxerre should be very careful with them because Zenit is a really good team, and Auxerre have to give their best if they want to eliminate them.

 

 

Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) - Ajax (Netherlands)

Very interesting matches we are going to see right here. Ajax is for sure the team for the CL group stage, but Dynamo Kyiv is also. Ajax may have some advantage, but Dynamo Kyiv can upset them.

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