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UEFA Champions League Qualifying Preview: Celtic, Lyon travel with leads

Celtic, Lyon and PSV will take leads into crucial away encounters in the second leg of the third round of UEFA Champions League qualifying.

A total of 15 ties will conclude this week, with the winners to enter the play-offs round where places in the group stage for Europe’s premier club competition will be up for grabs.

Scottish champions Celtic failed to convert their dominance in a 1-0 win over Swedish outfit Elfsborg at Celtic Park last week.

And they may be made to rue their profligacy in front of goal on Wednesday against a side who have lost just one competitive match at home in 2013.

While Celtic are just one game into their league campaign – a late Anthony Stokes strike gave them a 2-1 win over Ross County on Saturday – Elfsborg have played 18 encounters in the Swedish Allsvenskan and sit sixth in the table.

Lyon will also hit the road with a one-goal advantage, gained in a 1-0 win over Switzerland’s Grasshopper last week.

Milan Bisevac headed the winner for the Ligue 1 outfit, but they will also be wary due to their slender advantage as they prepare for the second leg fixture at Stadion Letzigrund in Zurich on Tuesday.

Eredivisie side PSV have more breathing space as they visit Zulte-Waregem of the Belgian First Division on Wednesday with a 2-0 lead.

Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbahce claimed a 1-1 draw at Salzburg and host the Austrian outfit on Tuesday, and Partizan of Serbia will attempt to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Ludogorets of Bulgaria on the same day.

Zenit of Russia won 1-0 at Nordsjaelland in Denmark last week and host the return leg, while Czech outfit Viktoria Plzen lead 4-0 ahead of a home fixture against Estonia’s Kalju. Both of those games will take place on Wednesday.

Also this week, Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb and Switzerland’s FC Basel travel with 1-0 leads, as they visit Sheriff of Moldova and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv respectively.

Other fixtures see Romania’s Steaua Bucharest take a 2-0 lead into a home game against Georgia’s Dinamo Tbilisi, while Ukraine’s Metalist also lead by two goals and welcome PAOK Salonika of Greece.

APOEL of Cyprus and Denmark’s Molde are both at home against Slovenia’s Maribor and Poland’s Legia Warsaw, with both legs locked at 1-1.

Iceland’s FH will attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit when they host Austria Vienna, but Albania’s Skenderbeu Force appears even tougher as they trail Kazakhstan’s Shakhter Karagandy 3-0.

Sun 4 August, 2013
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