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It may be some time before the big names enter the competition, but the Champions League campaigns of six less-known teams begin on Tuesday

Euro 2012 has barely finished, the Olympic Games football  tournament is still three weeks away and the major domestic leagues of Europe do not get underway for another six weeks.

But the 2012-13 European Champions' League is ready to kick off.

But before punters get too excited, do not expect to see the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich involved just yet.

No, it is the first of a staggering four qualifying rounds the minnows of European football must endure before reaching the vast riches of the group stage ‑ which kicks off in September ‑ and guarantees all 32 participants enormous income thanks to the lucrative world-wide television coverage of world football's biggest club tournament.

That is the prize potentially on offer for Luxembourg's F91 Dudelange, San Marino outfit Tre Penne, Malta's Valletta FC, Lusitanos of Andorra, Northern Ireland's Linfield and the Faroe Islands' B36 Torshavn, when they officially kick off the new European football season on Tuesday [Wednesday morning Australian time].

The six teams are the respective champions of the six lowest ranked European domestic leagues within UEFA.

And while the powerhouse nations such as Spain, England and Germany get to have three teams go directly through to the group stages, the minnow nations' sole representatives have to survive four gruelling home-and-away ties just to reach the group stages.


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But for those punters that cannot wait for the Champions League proper to get underway in September, the good news is you can even have a bet on the first round of qualifying matches.

However, be prepared to take some short odds.

Of the six teams in the first qualifying round it, is 21-time Maltese champions Valletta that are by far the best credentialed.

Not only is the Maltese league the highest ranked by UEFA of the six leagues, but they are also by far the most experienced team at this level.

So not surprisingly, Valletta are $1.15 favourites at Luxbet to win their home first leg against Lusitanos, who are at $13.50 with the draw at $7.

However, the other two ties appears just as one-sided, with F91 Dudelange $1.12 at home to beat Tre Penne at $18, with the draw at $8.

While in the other tie, Northern Irish champions Linfield are $1.13 at Luxbet to win at home in the first leg of their tie against B36 Torshavn at $15, with the draw at $7.50.


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