thumbnail Hello,

The Premier League outfit will have to deal with the Istanbul giant on the way to the group stages, while the Serie A side faces Basque opposition.

Arsenal has been paired with Besiktas during Friday's Champions League playoff draw in Nyon, Switzerland.

Arsene Wenger's men last made it past the round of 16 in 2009-10 and will be determined to do better this term, yet the club will have to see off the Turks, who last featured in European club football's elite competition in 2009-10.

In what is arguably the standout tie of the playoffs, Rafael Benitez's Napoli will have to deal with La Liga representative Athletic Bilbao if the Italian club is to reach the group stages.

The Serie A outfit impressed in the Champions League three years ago, yet was eliminated in the group stages last term. Athetic, meanwhile, has appeared in the Champions League just once before, when the club crashed out in the group stages in 1998-1999.

Furthermore, Lille meets Porto, while Bayer Leverkusen takes on Copenhagen and Standard Liege will have to battle Zenit in the final tie of the league route.

In the champions route, Celtic - which was allowed back in the tournament at the expense of Legia Warsaw following an administrative error by the Poles - was paired with Maribor.

The opening legs will be played on August 19 and 20, with the return games on August 26 and 27, the 10 winners joining the 22 teams automatically qualified for the group stage.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAY-OFF DRAW
Maribor (SVN)  VS Celtic (SCO) 
 Salzburg (AUT) VS Malmo (SWE) 
 Aalborg (DEN) VS APOEL (CYP) 
 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) VS Ludogorets (BUL)
 Slovan Bratislava (SVK)  VS BATE (BLR)
 Besiktas (TUR) VS Arsenal (ENG) 
 Standard Liege (BEL) VS Zenit St Petersburg (RUS)
Copenhagen (DEN)  VS Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 
 Lille (FRA) VS  Porto (POR)
  Napoli (ITA) VS Athletic Bilbao (ESP)  

Related

From the web