Drogheda United, Modrica and Domzale enjoyed winning Champions League debuts after dismissing their first qualifying round opponents on Wednesday. Irish champions Drogheda will face Dynamo Kiev after defender Graham Gartland gave them a 1-0 win at Levadia Tallinn to complete a 3-1 aggregate win over the Estonian champions.
Bosnian title holders Modrica scored twice in the last two minutes in a 2-1 home win over Dinamo Tirana that gave them a 4-1 aggregate win against the Albanians. They now go on to face Danish side Aalborg.
Slovenia’s Domzale (whom I incorrectly predicted would be knocked out) racked up a 2-0 home win over Luxembourg’s Dudelange to earn them a 3-0 aggregate victory. They now go into the second round to take on Croatian rivals Dinamo Zagreb. Dinamo Zagreb, who are hoping for their first Champions League group stage appearance in eight years, registered a 3-1 overall win against Northern Ireland’s Linfield after being held to a 1-1 home draw.
The big scoreline was put up by Sweden’s IFK Gothenburg after they thrashed Murata 9-0 on aggregate. Gothenburg midfielder Niklas Barkroth scored twice in a 4-0 home rout of the San Marino side this week. Gothenburg now face a second-round clash with Swiss champions Basel.
The second qualifying round sees some well-known names enter the competition. Anderlecht, Fenerbahce, Glasgow Rangers and Sparta Prague are all part of this second round and the action will only continue to heat up as we progress. The first legs of the second qualifying round are set to go next Tuesday and Wednesday with the return legs on Aug. 5th and 6th. The complete list of second qualifying round matchups are listed below. My predictions are in bold and so far in this competition I am doing OK. I was 11 of 14 in the last round. I don’t know that I can pull that off again but here goes
Anorthosis Famugusta (Cyprus) v Rapid Vienna (Austria)
Drogheda United (Ireland) v Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)
IFK Gothenburg (Sweden) v FC Basel 1893(Switzerland)
Tampere United (Finland) v Artmedia Petrzalka (Slovakia)
AaB Aalborg (Denmark) v Modrica (Bosnia)
Domzale (Slovenia) v Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
Anderlecht (Belgium) v BATE Borisov (Belarus)
Fenerbahce (Turkey) v MTK Hungaria (Hungary)
Beitar Jerusalem (Israel) v Wisla Krakow (Poland)
FC Inter Baki (Azerbaijan) v Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
Brann Bergen (Norway) v Ventspils (Latvia)
Rangers (Scotland) v Kaunas (Lithuania)
Panathinaikos (Greece) v Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia)
Sheriff (Moldova) v Sparta Praha (Czech Republic)