Seeded English clubs await Euro draw

July 27, 2006

Liverpool and Arsenal go into Friday's Champions League draw wary of facing a difficult tie as they battle to reach the lucrative group stages of the competition.

Following UEFA's shuffling of seeded and unseeded clubs for the third qualifying draw the two English giants - both seeded - could face the likes of unseeded Fenerbahce, Spartak Moscow, Dinamo Zagreb, Red Star Belgrade or Legia Warsaw, all of whom are expected to progress after winning their first leg, second qualifying-round games this week.

There is also the prospect of meeting Spanish club Osasuna, Italians Chievo Verona, Standard Liege, Austria Vienna or Hearts.

Much depends on the second leg results next week, but Hearts - already 3-0 ahead against Siroki Brijeg - seem almost certain now of qualifying for the next stage.

Cork, 1-0 down after their home leg against Red Star Belgrade, find themselves in the seeded half of the draw only because their Serbian opponents have a good enough UEFA coefficient.

Maccabi Haifa are also in the unseeded section and could face Liverpool or Arsenal, but it is expected UEFA will insist such a tie is switched - probably to Nicosia in Cyprus - for the Israeli club's home leg due to the current conflict in Lebanon.

Possible ties that look a little easier for the English pair could involve trips to face Copenhagen, Zurich, Djurgadens (Sweden), Debrecen (Hungary) or Mlada Boleslav (Czech Rep).