UEFA Champions League Qualifying Draws : Tottenham, Werder Bremen Handed Tricky Draws
UEFA Champions League Qualifying Draws : Tottenham, Werder remen Handed Tricky Draws
The highly anticipated draw to determine the play-off matches for the champions league produced some tricky and entertaining clashes between the teams. With the likes of Tottenham, Dynamo Kiev, Sevilla and Ajax Amsterdam in the fray, there was every likelihood of a high voltage clash. And with the lesser known clubs being no pushovers, which was amply demonstrated by their giant killing acts in the earlier qualifying rounds, it seems that the play-offs would be closely fought ties with every chance of another set of upsets . Let me analyse the matches in detail:
Tottenham vs Young Boys : Tottenham have been handed a tricky draw against newcomers Young Boys from Switzerland who finished runners up in their league. Although, this tie looks an easier one, yet they must be cautious about getting complacent against a side which has already stunned a highly fancied Fenerbahce in the previous round. Spurs last played a match in the topmost European league in 1962 and after 48 years would be looking to avoid any sort of upsets and progress smoothly to the main round.
Tottenham have not bolstered their squad a great deal but know that they have a squad capable of mounting a serious challenge to the league title if not the Champions League. Harry Redknapp has gone on record saying that this tie is a challenging one, specially the game at Bern at their artificially laden pitch.
Braga vs Sevilla : The two Iberian rivals from Spain lock horns against each other for a place in the main draw. Although, Sevilla looks overwhelming favourites to win the contest, they like Tottenham would be facing a side which upset Celtic and progressed to this round. With both teams knowing each other’s tactics very well having played regularly in the league, it would be a test of team strength and individual performance.
Werder Bremen vs Samporia : In possibly the most intriguing tie of the round , German giants Werder Bremen would be squaring off against Sampdoria , a club which has been exceptional last season and looked like title challengers for a large part. One of the reasons for this turnaround has been the deadly striking partnership between Pazzini and Cassano, arguably regarded as the best strike partnership in Seria A last season. Werder Bremen have been an experienced customer in the Europe’s elite competition in the last few years and very well know the tits and bits on how to successfully carve out a win even in difficult situations. With Mesut Ozil remaining at Bremen and led by one of the classic midfielders in Europe Torsten Frings, they look slight favourites to win the tie.
Ajax Amsterdam vs Dynamo Kiev: In another classic tie, two footballing giants in their respective countries face each other in what is being regarded as a match with an attacking flair. Both the teams possess quality strikers in the form of Luis Suarez and Andrey Shevchenko respectively who have been in great form recently. Both the teams look evenly matched and it remains to be seen who comes out as the winner.
In other matches, it would be an all Scandinavian affair as Norway’s elite club Rosenborg face their Danish counterpart, Copenhagen FC . Swiss side Basel will face off against FC Sheriff, while gruelling encounters await Sparta Praha who play MSK Zilina, as well as Partizan Belgrade against Anderlect. Austrian champions Salzburg FC awaits a stern test against the Israeli giants Hapoel Tel Aviv who would be desperate to enter the main draw of the Champions League having missed on a number of occasions.