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25.05.2008 12:05

Rivals in the qualifying rounds

Jesús Carrillo

On 1 August FC Barcelona will find out its rivals in the third round of the qualifying stage for the Champions League. Barça has played at this stage of the competition twice before and got through on both occasions.

After taking third place in the League Barça will play in the third round of the qualifying stages of the 2008/09 Champions League. On two previous occasions Barça has played in this part of the competition, against Skonto from Riga and Wisla from Krakow, reaching the group phase both times.


QM3D8183.jpgFC Barcelona will be seeded in the third round. That means they will avoid the most dangerous teams with the best European records in the draw after the first two qualifying rounds. That means Barça won’t be matched with sides like Arsenal, Liverpool, Juventus, Fiorentina and Schalke, or Spain’s Atlético de Madrid. Other seeded sides are Anderlecht, Celtic, Panathinaikos, Olympiakos and Fenerbahce. The last two, however, first have to get through the second round. The Turkish champions, Galatasaray, will also be seeded.

Teams with tradition

Some of FC Barcelona’s possible rivals are clubs with a long tradition such as Austria and Rapid Vienna from Austria and the Belgian outfits Standard Liege and Anderlecht. Other teams who will be looking to make to the last stage are CSKA Sofia and Dynamo Zagreb from Croatia.

The danger teams

Holland’s Twente -which has knocked out Ajax Amsterdam- Partisan Belgrade and the Swedish sides Kalmar and Elsfborg could be the most dangerous rivals. Other sides which on paper look an easier proposition are Artmedia from Bratislava, Portuguese side Vitoria and Girondins from Bordeaux, a side managed by ex-Barça star Laurent Blanc.

Sixteen places for 58 clubs

28 clubs begin the first series of Champions League games in the second half of July. 14 more will be added in the first half of August, with 16 more coming on board in the second half of the month, including FC Barcelona, to play the third and final round of matches. In total, 58 clubs will be vying for 16 places in the group stages to begin in mid-September.
Rivals in the qualifying rounds
Draw on 1 August
Barça will find out their opponents in the third round of qualifying for the Champions League on 1 August when the draw is held in Nyon (Switzerland). The first leg will be played on 12 or 13 August and the second leg on 26 or 27 August.

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