Bulgarian Clubs Handed Tough Draw in UEFA Cup 1st Round
Last year's league runners up CSKA Sofia will meet Toulouse FC, who finished third in France, with the first leg of the tie played in France.
"We got one of the strongest possible opponents - such is the luck of the draw, but we will do everything to get to the group stage of the tournament," CSKA manager Stoycho Mladenov commented after the draw.
CSKA beat Omonia Nicosia from Cyprus, 3-2 on aggregate, in the second qualifying round, while Toulouse was eliminated in the third round of qualifying for the Champions League by Liverpool.
Lokomotiv Sofia, who finished third in the Bulgarian league last year, drew another French team, Rennes and will play the first leg away.
"All our possible opponents were pretty much of the same calibre, all of them also well-known in Europe. We don't know much about how Rennes play, but we are ready for this challenge," Lokomotiv manager Stefan Grozdanov said.
Lokomotiv beat Romanian club Otelul Galati, 3-1 on aggregate, in the second qualifying round, while Rennes qualified directly for the first round of the competition.
Bulgarian Cup finalists Litex Lovech will meet Hamburger SV, who finished seventh in the German Bundesliga, and will play the second leg at home, the same as the other two Bulgarian clubs.
"I don't think there is anyone who follows football and hasn't heard of Hamburger. We will prepare as well as we can for the tie, but we are not resigned to losing to one of the best German teams just yet," Litex manager Ferario Spasov said.
Litex made short work of Albanian side Besa in the second qualifying round, winning 6-0 on aggregate, while Hamburger took the longest way to get to the tournament, through the Intertoto Cup.
Bulgarian champions Levski Sofia have already been dumped out of Europe this season, slumping to a shock 2-0 aggregate loss to Finland's Tampere United in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.
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