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Champions League Draw pairs Panathinaikos with Malaga
- Updated: August 10, 2012
Panathinaikos will need to overcome Malaga if they are to reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League after the draw for the play-off round of the competition proper was held at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
Featuring in the league route of the draw, Panathinaikos were among the seeded clubs in a draw that featured many top sides in the unseeded end. Panathinaikos’ fortunes is seen as a small victory for the club as Malaga looks to sort out its off-field problems and isn’t seen in as strong as other unseeded clubs — most notably Udinese and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Financial insecurity at Malaga has caused a mini-crisis at La Rosaleda as the Andalusian club have been forced to sell top stars like Santi Cazorla in a bid to balance the books. Despite the financial instability at Malaga the club poses a dangerous threat to Panathinaikos’ hopes of returning to the group stage as Malaga still has lethal attackers like Joaquin and Diego Buonanotte in the line-up. Malaga recently got a dose of Greek football as the Spanish club played out a 3-3 friendly draw with Olympiacos at Karaiskaki earlier this week.
It’s the second time Panathinaikos faces Spanish opposition at this stage of the competition since UEFA introduced alternate routes to qualification for the Champions League. Panathinaikos will be hoping for better fortunes this time around after crashing out of the play-off round at the hands of Atletico Madrid in 2009/2010.
Other notable ties in the league route sees Braga face Udinese while Spartak Moscow get Turkey’s Fenerbahce. Meanwhile, in the Champions route of the draw, Giorgos Samaras’ Celtic will have to negotiate a tie with Swedish side Helsingborgs while Cyprus’ AEL Limassol will have to contend with Belgian side Anderlecht.
UEFA Champions League play-off draw
FC Basel 1893 (SUI) v CFR 1907 Cluj (ROU)
Helsingborgs IF (SWE) v Celtic FC (SCO)
FC BATE Borisov (BLR) v Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC (ISR)
AEL Limassol FC (CYP) v RSC Anderlecht (BEL)
GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) v NK Maribor (SVN)
SC Braga (POR) v Udinese Calcio (ITA)
FC Spartak Moskva (RUS) v Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)
Málaga CF (ESP) v Panathinaikos FC (GRE)
VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER) v FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
LOSC Lille Métropole (FRA) v FC København (DEN)