The draw for the third qualifying round for next season's European Champions League will be made today at the UEFA offices in Nyon, Switzerland, although there will be no easy opponent lying in wait for Maccabi Haifa.
Haifa was seeded for the second round tie against Haka Valkeakoski of Finland, but the winner of the two-leg encounter could come up against one of the powerhouses of Europe such as Barcelona, Lazio, Parma, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund to name but a few.
Haifa will play its first leg game in Finland on July 25 with the return leg at Kiryat Eliezer a week later.
At least one setback for the Haifa team is that they will be without Yossi Benayoun for both matches against the Finns after he underwent a groin operation in Munich yesterday which was carried out by the surgeon who looks after the players of European champion Bayern Munich.
Benayoun will be out of action completely for 10 days but may still join the rest of the team in Finland when they travel there from their training camp in Nuremberg.
For today's draw, Galatasaray, Porto, Anderlecht and Rangers will all be seeded if they make it to the third qualifying round stage.
But if any of them lose in the second qualifying round, the club beating them would take their allocated seeded place.
Each of the 16 seeded clubs will be drawn against one of the unseeded teams but clubs from the same country will not play against each other.
The second qualifying round is being played on July 25 and August 1 and the third qualifying round on August 7/8 and August 21/22.
Seeded clubs for today's draw for the third qualifying round of the Champions League:
Barcelona (Spain), Lazio (Italy), Parma (Italy), Liverpool (England), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Galatasaray (Turkey) (or Vllaznia Shkoder/Albania), Porto (Portugal) (or Barry Town/Wales), Real Mallorca (Spain), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia), Rosenborg Trondheim (Norway), Slavia Prague (Czech Republic), Anderlecht (Belgium) (or Sherif Tiraspol/Moldova), Rangers (Scotland) or NK Maribor (Slovenia).
Unseeded clubs: Panathinaikos (Greece), Grasshoppers (Switzerland), Steaua Bucharest (Romania) or Sloga Jugomagnat (Macedonia), Celtic (Scotland), Fenerbahce (Turkey), Levski Sofia (Bulgaria) or Brann Bergen (Norway), Lille (France), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) or Lugano (Switzerland), Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus) or Red Star Belgrade (Yugoslavia), Torpedo Kutaisi (Georgia) or FC Copenhagen (Denmark), Tirol Innsbruck (Austria), Skonto Riga (Latvia) or Wisla Krakow (Poland), Bohemians (Ireland) or Halmstad (Sweden), Ferencvaros (Hungary) or Hajduk Split (Croatia), Slavia Mozyr (Belarus) or Inter Bratislava (Slovakia), Haka Valkeakoski (Finland) or Maccabi Haifa (Israel).
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