Seeded Spurs face dangers in Champions League draw
Friday 06 August 2010
Tottenham Hotspur will be seeded for this morning's draw for the final qualifying round of the Champions League, although they could still face testing opposition as they bid to make the group stage for the first time.
Spurs have five possible unseeded opponents in today's draw in Switzerland: Sampdoria, Dynamo Kiev, Auxerre, Sporting Braga or Swiss side Young Boys. The most challenging would appear to be Sampdoria, who finished fourth in Italy's Serie A last season, and Ukrainian league runners-up Dynamo Kiev. Sampdoria have a new coach in Domenico di Carlo, who won much praise during the last two years in charge of Chievo and has replaced Luigi del Neri after he left for Juventus. The Genoa side also boast formidable firepower in the former Real Madrid striker Antonio Cassano and Italy international Giampaolo Pazzini, while former Spurs defender Reto Ziegler, who spent three years at White Hart Lane between 2004 and 2007, is also a first-team regular.
Dynamo played in the group stages last season in the same quartet as Barcelona and eventual winners Internazionale, against whom they secured a 2-2 draw at San Siro.
Braga, runners-up in the Portuguese Liga last season and conquerors of Celtic this week, faced Spurs in the 2006-07 Uefa Cup, with the Premier League side winning 6-4 on aggregate. French side Auxerre, who finished third in Ligue 1 last season, have experienced coach Jean Fernandez in charge, while Young Boys' relative lack of experience at this level makes them, on paper at least, the most favourable opponents for Harry Redknapp's side, despite beating Fenerbahce in Istanbul to secure their place in the play-offs.
Seville, Werder Bremen, Zenit St Petersburg and Ajax, managed by former Spurs coach Martin Jol, complete the seeds. The first leg of the play-offs takes place on 17-18 August, days after the start of the new Premier League season, with the return legs scheduled for the following week.
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