Bayern Munich, Arsenal set for Champs League draw
Bayern Munich and Arsenal will find out on Friday which opponent
they must beat to reach the lucrative group stage of the Champions
Bayern and Arsenal, Champions League finalists in 2010 and 2006
respectively, must win a home-and-away playoff this month to secure
the minimum ?20 million ($28.6 million) payment from UEFA that’s
guaranteed to German and English clubs playing in football’s
most-watched club competition.
Udinese, Lyon and Villarreal also enter as teams from Europe’s
top five leagues begin at the final preliminary round.
Benfica, Odense, Rubin Kazan, Twente and FC Zurich – runners-up
in Europe’s stronger leagues last season who progressed in
qualifying ties this week – are also in a 10-team draw for
In a separate draw, league winners from 10 mid-ranked countries
– including Copenhagen, Dinamo Zagreb and 1979 runner-up Malmo –
will be paired for ties to decide five more places in the 32-team
Defending champion Barcelona, beaten finalist Manchester United,
nine-time European champion Real Madrid and seven-time winner AC
Milan head the list of 22 teams which have direct entry. The groups
are drawn Aug. 25 in Monaco.
With playoff-round losers getting just ?2.1 million ($3 million)
and a place in the Europa League as compensation, the stakes are
high for clubs that rely on Champions League revenue and
Bayern, a four-time European champion, finds itself at UEFA
headquarters on Friday after finishing third in the Bundesliga,
while Arsenal’s late-season slump left it fourth in the Premier
Both are among the five seeds and could face Udinese, because
the fourth-placed Serie A side has a low UEFA ranking after missing
out on European competition for the past two seasons.
Udinese, however, has since sold its star Chilean winger Alexis
Sanchez to Barcelona and midfielder Gokhan Inler, the Switzerland
captain, to Napoli.
Lyon and Villarreal, both semifinalists in recent seasons, and
two-time winner Benfica are also seeded.
Odense impressed in eliminating Champions League regulars
Panathinaikos after a 4-3 win in Greece on Tuesday, and aims to
give Denmark two group-stage teams for the first time.
Danish champion Copenhagen advanced to the last-16 last season
and is top-seeded among 10 teams in the champions draw, which also
includes APOEL, BATE Borisov, Genk, Maccabi Haifa, Sturm Graz,
Viktoria Plzen and Wisla Krakow.
First leg matches are scheduled to be played Aug. 16 or 17, and
return matches on Aug. 23 or 24.