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Eastern challenge for Swiss UEFA Cup teams

Grasshoppers coach Hans-Peter Zaugg must take his team to Bucharest

(Keystone)

Friday's UEFA Cup first round draw has thrown up three eastern challenges for the Swiss clubs involved.

Swiss champions Grasshoppers and their championship predecessors St Gallen are both set to travel to the Romanian capital Bucharest.

Grasshoppers, who dropped into the UEFA Cup after failing to qualify for the Champions League, should be slight favourites against their opponents, the Romanian Cup winners Dinamo Bucharest. Having reached two European semi-finals more than ten years ago, Dinamo's more recent history has seen them suffer five UEFA Cup first round exits in a row.

If they need any more information about their European opponents, Grasshoppers need look no further than midfielder Mihail Tararache, who played for Dinamo before making his move to Zurich in 1998.

St Gallen are likely to be tested to the limit after being drawn against Dinamo's city rivals, Steuau Bucharest, who are no strangers to European glory themselves, having twice won the European Cup in 1986 and 1989. Marcel Koller's team could find goals hard to come by with the Romanian side boasting the experienced international Miodrag Belodedici (a European Cup winner with Red Star Belgrade in 1991) at the heart of their defence.

Swiss Cup winners Servette Geneva are set to take on Czech side Slavia Prague who are unlikely to need a map for their trip to Switzerland. In the last six years the ten-time Czech champions have come up against Swiss opposition on no less than four occasions.

Only once (against Grasshoppers in 1996) have Slavia come off the worse. The other three times saw comfortable wins for the Prague team over Lugano and Lucerne along with revenge over Grasshoppers in 1999.

Both Servette and St Gallen will play their home legs first while Grasshoppers will have home advantage in the second leg.

UEFA Cup first round draw in full:

(matches to be played over two legs on September 13 and 27)

Inter Bratislava (Slovakia) v Litex Lovech (Bulgaria)
Inter Milan (Italy) v FC Brasov (Romania)
SERVETTE (Switzerland) v Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)
Roda Kerkrade (Netherlands) v Fylkir (Iceland)
CSKA Kiev (Ukraine) v Red Star Belgrade (Yugoslavia)
Genclerbirligi (Turkey) v Halmstad (Sweden)
AEK Athens (Greece) v Hibernian (Scotland)
Olympija Ljubljana (Slovenia) v Brondby (Denmark)
Utrecht (Netherlands) v Graz AK (Austria)
Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) v Slovan Libreac (Czech Republic)
FC Copenhagen (Denmark) v Obilic Belgrade (Yugoslavia)
CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria) v Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Standard Liege (Belgium) v Racing Strasbourg (France)
AC Milan (Italy) v BATE Borisov (Belarus)
Chernomorets Novorossyisk (Russia) v Valencia (Spain)
Aston Villa (England) v Varteks (Croatia)
Parma (Italy) v HJK Helsinki (Finland)
NK Gorica (Slovenia) v Osijek (Croatia)
Ipswich Town (England) v Torpedo Moscow (Russia)
Kilmarnock (Scotland) v Viking (Norway)
Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands) v Apollon Limassol (Cyprus)
Real Zaragoza (Spain) v Silkeborg (Denmark)
Dinamo Bucharest (Romania) v GRASSHOPPERS (Switzerland)
Pribram (Czech Republic) v Sedan (France)
Troyes (France) v MSK Ruzomberok (Slovakia)
Legia Warsaw (Poland) v Elfsborg (Sweden)
Westerlo (Belgium) v Hertha Berlin (Germany)
Chelsea (England) v Levski Sofia (Bulgaria)
PAOK Salonika (Greece) v Karnten (Austria)
Dynamo Moscow (Russia) v Birkirkara (Malta)
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) v Fiorentina (Italy)
ST GALLEN (Switzerland) v Steaua Bucharest (Romania)
Girondins Bordeaux (France) v Debrecen (Hungary)
Gaziantepspor (Turkey) v Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)
FC Haka (Finland) v Union Berlin (Germany)
Partizan Belgrade (Yugoslavia) v Rapid Vienna (Austria)
Celta Vigo (Spain) v Sigma Olomouc (Czech Republic)
Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) v FC Midtjylland (Denmark)
FC Makhachkala (Russia) v Rangers (Scotland)
Hajduk Split (Croatia) v Wisla Krakow (Poland)
Paris St Germain (France) v Rapid Bucharest (Romania)
Maritimo (Portugal) v Leeds United (England)
Olympiakos Nicosia (Cyprus) v Club Bruges (Belgium)
Odds (Norway) v Helsingborg (Sweden)
*Tirol Innsbruck (Austria)/Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia) v Viktoria Zizkov (Czech Republic)
Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) v Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
Polonia Warsaw (Poland) v Twente Enschede (Netherlands)
Matador Puchov (Slovakia) v Freiburg (Germany)

*UEFA have agreed to a replay of the Champions League third round qualifying match between Tirol and Lokomotiv Moscow, after Tirol appealed against a refereeing mistake.

swissinfo with agencies

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