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Unfamiliar names in final round of Champions League qualifying

Unfamiliar names in final round of Champions League qualifying

Some unfamiliar names could reach this season's 32-team group stage of the Champions League.
Some of Europe's powers, including last season's runner-up Arsenal, six-time champion AC Milan and 2005 champion Liverpool, face tough opposition in the final qualifying round for the Champions League.
Games are today and tomorrow, with the second legs on August 22-23. The 16 survivors move on to the 32-team group stage.
Arsenal, playing without striker Thierry Henry and suspended keeper Jens Lehmann, faces a difficult task against Dinamo Zagreb, while AC takes on former champion Red Star Belgrade.
Liverpool is up against Maccabi Haifa. UEFA was to consider Monday moving the second leg from Israel because of fighting between Israeli's military and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants.
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said it was "totally unacceptable" to play in Israel. Dinamo's second-team striker Goran Ljubojevic said the home crowd will help his team. "It will be great when Arsenal comes to Zagreb," Ljubojevic said. "We will be fully motivated and a full stadium will help us."
This final qualifying stage is dominated by teams from central and eastern Europe. A few are well-known clubs - like former champions Steaua Bucharest and Red Star Belgrade. But several are obscure.
One newcomer is Rabotnicki Skopje of Macedonia, which faces French club Lille. Rabotnicki advanced with a 5-2 aggregate win over Hungary's Debrecen.
Six clubs from central and eastern Europe were drawn to face each other, meaning three are guaranteed of reaching the group stage.
Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk faces Poland's Legia Warsaw, CSKA Moscow plays Ruzomberok of Slovakia and Czech team Slovan Liberec goes against Spartak Moscow.
Traditionally dominated by teams from western Europe, this year's final 32 promised more diversity.
Two Turkish teams are hoping to get through with Fenerbahce playing Dynamo Kiev and Galatasaray playing Mlada Boleslav.


Updated : 2021-10-26 05:18 GMT+08:00