Final week of UEFA qualifying
The last 10 available spots in the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League will be determined this week after the second legs of the qualifying playoffs. Here's a look at four of the matchups and what you need to know heading into Tuesday and Wednesday's matches.
FC Zurich vs Bayern Munich (First Leg: 0-2)
Bayern Munich has been in the Champions League Group Stage every year since 1997-98 except one (2007-08) and are well positioned to return after a 2-0 victory in the first leg. FC Zurich is 2-9-1 all-time against German sides and Bayern has won four of its last five away matches in UEFA competition.
Villareal vs Odense (First Leg: 0-1)
Villareal has to overcome a 1-0 loss in the first leg of its playoff with Odense if it wants to return to the CL Group Stage for the first time since 2007-08. El Madrigal has been a fortress of late for Villareal in UEFA competitions as The Yellow Submarine is undefeated in its last nine home matches, including eight straight wins. Odense is 1-5-0 all-time away to Spanish competition, with its only win coming against Real Madrid in a 2-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 1994-95 UEFA Cup.
Udinese vs Arsenal (First Leg: 0-1)
Arsenal has reached the CL Group Stage every year since 1998-99 and enters this match with a nine-match win streak in CL qualifying. Arsenal is the 21st Premier League team to participate in Champions League qualifying. Eight consecutive teams have qualified for the Group Stage, and 18 of the 20 teams have done so overall. The exceptions were Everton in 2005 and Newcastle in 2003. A point of concern for Arsenal is its away record in European competition, as it has won just one of its last eight away matches and has lost three straight. Udinese outshot Arsenal 15-11 in the first leg, but had only four shots on target for the match and had only one on target in the second half.
Rubin Kazan vs Lyon (First Leg: 1-3)
Lyon has participated in the CL Group Stage every year since 2000-01 and brings a two-goal lead into the second leg of its tie with Rubin Kazan. Rubin Kazan earned entry in the CL Group Stage in each of the last two seasons as the Russian Champion and is participating in qualifying for the first time in club history. Lyon's only previous experience with a Russian side prior to this playoff was against Spartak Moscow in the 2000-01 Champions League second Group Stage. Lyon drew 1-1 at Moscow and won 3-1 at home.