On Tuesday, five teams booked their places in the UEFA Champions League group stage, but that still left five places up for grabs. Either by way of the Champions Route or the League Route, five more teams would find their ways out of their two-legged playoffs and secure all of the prestige, glory and money of the Champions League proper.
Dynamo Kiev 1-2 Borussia Monchengladbach
Dynamo Kiev advance 4-3 on aggregate
After losing 3-1 at home in the first leg, Gladbach was supposed to roll over and give up in Ukraine. For more than an hour, they basically did. Sure, they pushed players forward, but they never scared Dynamo. It was the insignificant bore that everyone expected it to be.
In the 70th minute, though, it got mildly interesting. Yevhen Khacheridi put the ball in his own goal and the margin was one. Dynamo was still in control, but at least there was a way back for Gladbach, even if it was still a long way back.
Eight minutes later, Juan Arango scored for Gladbach and it was on. The Germans were level on aggregate and while they would still be out on away goals, they were only one goal away from pulling off the comeback, which was otherwise known as doing the impossible.
But Brown Ideye ruined the fun in the 88th minute. He ran onto a ball over the top of the Gladbach defense, chipped the goalkeeper and put a damper on the fun. Of course, a Gladbach goal would still send the tie to extra time and they almost did get that vital goal, but almost doesn't count.
Gladbach almost scored again. Gladbach pulled off a great comeback. Dynamo are going to the group stages.
Lille 2-0 Copenhagen
Lille advance 2-1 on aggregate after extra time
Danish clubs don't spend much time in the spotlight, but Copenhagen have acquitted themselves well in European competition in recent years. That was the case again in the first leg against Lille, when they earned a 1-0 win that wasn't exactly the margin that they were hoping for at home, but did keep Lille from notching an away goal.
In France on Wednesday, many expected Lille to dominate, but once again, Copenhagen proved tough. Lucas Digne's goal in the 43rd minute leveled the tie, but Copenhagen defended well and even scared the home side upon occasion.
Neither team could find a goal in the second half, which forced extra time and there Lille finally found their advantage over Copenhagen. They were brighter against a Copenhagen side that appeared to tire and in the 105th minuteTulio De Melo broke through. He beat the Copenhagen defense and beat Johan Wiland to notch the goal that has Lille heading to the group stage
Fenerbahce 1-1 Spartak Moscow
Spartak advance 3-2 on aggregate
A 2-1 loss in Russia didn't doom Fenerbahce at all. It was a fine result, falling behind by only a goal and getting a vital away goal. But conceding inside of six minutes at home? That proved to be the Turks' undoing.
An early going by Ari put Spartak in the driver's seat, not just two goals up on aggregate, but with the away goal to match Fenerbahce. Moussa Sow brought a goal back for the home side in the 69th minute and Fenerbahce did their best to push for the goal that would send them to extra time, but it would not come and the Russians were moving on.
Celtic 2-0 Helsingborg
Celtic advance 4-0 on aggregate
After winning 2-0 in Sweden, Celtic returned home for a second leg that was essentially a formality, which it proved to be. The Scots never really exerted themselves and still got goals from Gary Hooper and Vitor Wanyama to pick up another comfortable win. The Scottish Premier League might not test Celtic this season, but now they have the Champions League, where Celtic might be fighting for Scottish football pride after an embarrassing few years for the country.
CFR Cluj-Napoca 1-0 FC Basel
Cluj advance 3-1 on aggregate
Basel may have been the darlings of last year's Champions League after beating Manchester United to advance to the knockout stages, but that Basel team had Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka. Both of them are now gone and it showed against Cluj, who never looked too bothered by Basel. The Romanians won the first leg in Switzerland, 2-1, and got a goal from Pantelis Kapetanos for a rather pedestrian 1-0 win in the second leg that has them heading to the group stages.