So far in the third qualifying round of the Champions League, the threat of upset has been the order of the day. A number of sides expected to win easily got much tougher battles than they expected, and several may not make the final playoff round for the much sought-after Group Stage spots.
While French side Monaco built on their Champions League quarterfinal run from last season with an easy 3-1 road win against Swiss side Young Boys, Netherlands power Ajax seemed to continue their fall from European grace, struggling to a 2-2 draw against Rapid Wien in Austria. They'll be hoping that the friendly confines of the Amsterdam ArenA will help them gut out the much-needed win, because Ajax need to stay in the Champions League if they're going to find a way to turn things around and become a European power again.
One of the premier ties of the round is Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk against Turkey's Fenerbahce, two very talented sides that played each other to a 0-0 standstill in the first leg in Turkey. Who can get the upper hand in round two? It's going to be a match that bears close scrutiny on Wednesday, as will Club Brugge's efforts to use home field advantage overturn a surprising 2-1 loss to Greek sides Panathinaikos in the first leg. The Belgians became something of a darling team to some after a fun Europa League run last season, but they'll need to be better in their second match to turn into Champions League darlings.
A full list of the 15 ties can be found below:
Dates and results shown for first and second legs respectively; first team listed is home in the first leg. All times Eastern.
CSKA Moscow vs. Sparta Prague -- July 28, 2-2. / Aug. 5, 3-2, CSKA Moscow advance by 5-4 aggregate
Midtjylland vs. APOEL -- July 28, 1-2 / Aug. 4, 1-0, APOEL advance on away goals
Milsami vs. Skënderbeu Korçë -- July 28, 0-2 / Aug. 5, 0-2, Skënderbeu Korçë advance by 4-0 aggregate
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Viktoria Plzeň -- July 28, 1-2 / Aug. 5, 2-0, Maccabi Tel Aviv advance by 3-2 aggregate
Panathinaikos vs. Club Brugge -- 2-1 / Aug. 5, 0-3, Club Brugge advance by 4-2 aggregate
Fenerbahçe vs. Shakhtar Donetsk -- July 28, 0-0 / Aug. 5, 0-3, Shakhtar Donetsk advance by 3-0 aggregate
Young Boys vs. Monaco -- July 28, 1-3 / Aug. 4, 0-4, Monaco advance by 7-1 aggregate
Videoton vs. BATE -- July 28, 1-1 / Aug. 5, 0-1, BATE advance by 2-1 aggregate
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Molde -- July 28, 1-1 / Aug. 4, 3-3, Dinamo advance on away goals
HJK vs. Astana -- July 29, 0-0 / Aug. 5, 3-4, Astana advance by 4-3 aggregate
Salzburg vs. Malmö FF -- July 29, 2-0 / Aug. 5,0-3, Malmö FF advance by 3-2 aggregate
Steaua Bucharest vs. Partizan -- July 29, 1-1 / Aug. 5, 2-4, Partizan advance by 5-3 aggregate
Celtic vs. Qarabağ -- July 29, 1-0 / Aug. 5, 0-0, Celtic advance by 1-0 aggregate
Lech Poznań vs. Basel -- July 29, 1-3 / Aug. 5, 0-1, Basel advance by 4-1 aggregate
Rapid Vienna vs. Ajax -- July 29, 2-2 / Aug. 4, 3-2 -- Rapid Vienna advance by 5-4 aggregate