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Atletico Madrid coach delighted to face Panathinaikos

07 August 2009 / 19:08:17  GRReporter
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Greek teams have been offered some extra motivation to reach the Champions League group stage, in the form of €1 million provided as a bonus by UEFA. As you probably know, the Greek contestants for the most prestigious club tournament in Europe are Olympiakos and Panathinaikos.  

The Reds will face FC Sheriff on the 18 or 19 of August in Moldova and the second leg will be played at "Karaiskaki" Stadium in Piraeus on the 25 or 26 of August. In the mean time, Panathinaikos will challenge Atletico Madrid in a two-game tie for the group stage on the same dates.  

While FC Sheriff is a giant in Moldavian football but a minnow in European terms, Atletico Madrid's list of achievements in continental competitions is impressive. It's fair to say that Panathinaikos has every chance of proceeding to the group stage, but people in Madrid have admitted to be pleased with the draw. Alberto Recino was quoted saying "I never like to say games are easy", while enjoying the fact that his team has avoided facing Arsenal or Olympique Lyonnais.  He also said that ti was clear that both the English and French sides would offer a harder challenge, while Henk Ten Kate's team is a better option at this stage of the competition. Recino believes that the Greeks will offer an offensive, hard-tackled style of play, but his side was prepared for that.

It seems as if Olympiakos' task against FC Sheriff is easier, but both squads will be expected to give their best at this point and surprises have happened before.

                                                                             
Here is the full draw for the final Champions League qualification play-off:  

 

FC Sheriff (Moldova) - Olympiakos

Salzburg  (Austria) - Maccabi Haifa (Israel)

Ventspils (Latvia) - Zurich (Switzerland)

FC Copenagen (Denmark) - Apoel (Cyprus)

Levski Sofia (Bulgaria) - Debrecen (Hungary)

Olympique Lyonnais (France) - Anderlecht (Belgium)

Celtic (Scotland) - Arsenal (England)

FC Timisoara - Stuttgart

Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) - Firoentina (Italy)

Panathinaikos - Atletico Madrid (Spain)

 

The first play-off games are on the 18 and 19 of August, while the second legs will be played on the 25 and 26 of the same month. The group stage of the competition kicks-off in the middle of September.

 

Dilyana Ivanova

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