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Odense has got into Panathinaikos’s way for the Champions League after the draw made on Friday in Switzerland, making the Greens slight favourites to reach the competition’s playoffs in August.
The Greens managed to avoid bigger names such as Russia’s Rubin Kazan and Turkey’s Trabzonspor, but will need to hit top form quick enough as the Danish championship is beginning this weekend and Odense will be much better prepared than the Greeks.
The Danish league runners-up will host the first match on July 26 or 27 with the return match scheduled for August 2 or 3 in Athens. The winners of the third-qualifying-round tie advance to the Champions League playoffs that lead to the lucrative group stage, while the losers are relegated to the Europa League playoffs.
PAOK and Olympiakos Volou will also need to travel to northern Europe for the Europa League, and are also the favourites to advance to the next round. In the competition’s third qualifying round PAOK will face Norwegian side Valerenga or Armenian team Mika, with the first match in Thessaloniki on July 28 and the return match away on August 4. Two years ago PAOK played Valerenga and managed to go through.
Provided Olympiakos Volou see off Rad Belgrade, which they beat 1-0 away in the first leg of the second qualifying round, they will meet one of Differdange of Luxembourg and Levadia Tallinn of Estonia.
The Volos side will host Rad on July 21 in the return leg and if they qualify they will first travel to Luxembourg or Estonia on July 28 and then entertain their opponents in Volos on August 4.