Thursday, July 17, 2008

UEFA Cup First Qualifying Round

Oh, yeah, the UEFA Cup also began their qualifying procedures today. Now, this is way more complicated than the Champions League qualifying where victors of cupcake nations get to battle it out (before third and fourth place teams from big nations also get to play, inexplicably). Instead third place teams and domestic cup winners of cupcake nations get to battle it out. Sheeeeesh.

Lets just take a step back for a second and recap the competition. All in all 122 clubs will participate throughout the competition. Here's the breakdown:
  • Associations 1-6 each have 3 teams qualify
  • Associations 7-8 each have 4 teams qualify
  • Associations 9-15 each have 2 teams qualify
  • Associations 16-21 each have 3 teams qualify
  • Associations 22-37 and 39-50 have 2 teams qualify
  • Associations 38 (Lichtenstein), 51 (Andorra), 52 (San Marino) have 1 team qualify
  • Association 53 (Montenegro) have 2 teams qualify
  • 3 UEFA Fair Play entries
  • 11 Winners of the UEFA Intertoto Cup 2008
  • 16 Losers from the UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round
  • 8 third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Too much numbers for ya? Well, its gets worse. The First Qualifying Round, has 74 teams in all. 33 Cup-winners from associations 21-53, 32 runners-up from associations 19-37, 39-50 and 53, 6 third-place finishers from associations 16-21, and 3 entries through UEFA Fair Play (which should have been Fulham) all take part.

I'm not going to recap the results of the first leg because there were 37 of them. So just go here. There weren't any surprises in the results, other than Red Bull Salzburg scoring 7 on Banants Yerevan of Armenia, and HSC Berlin winning 8-1 against Nistru Otaci of Moldova. Gotta love mismatches! And Vaduz, who won the Lichtenstein football Cup (thus qualifying them for the competition as Liechtensteiner clubs play in Switzerland) lost to Bosnia's Zrinjski Mostar. C'mon Residenzlers!

The second leg reconvenes in two weeks, where they'll join 27 other clubs in the Second Qualifying Round. My head hurts.