Salzburg gets path to Champions League via Israel or Belarus

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Salzburg was drawn to face either Maccabi Tel-Aviv or Dinamo Brest on Tuesday in the Champions League playoffs.

The Austrian champions will first play in either Israel or Belarus on Sept. 22 or 23, when the competition returns to a two-leg format.

Maccabi and Dinamo will play one week earlier in the third qualifying round, which is a single-leg knockout game because of a tight schedule in the pandemic-delayed new season.

Salzburg played in the group stage of the Champions League last year for the first time, placing third as teenage forward Erling Haaland scored in each of his first five games, including against Liverpool and Napoli.

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In other pairings, Olympiakos was drawn to host the first leg against either Red Star Belgrade or Cypriot club Omonia.

Krasnodar, eliminated by Olympiakos in the playoffs last year, could face another Greek team, PAOK Thessaloniki. But PAOK first has a qualifying round match at home against Benfica.

Krasnodar was initially paired with Dynamo Kyiv or AZ Alkmaar, but a UEFA rule since 2014 prevents teams from Russia and Ukraine being drawn together for security reasons. Dynamo and AZ were moved down in the bracket and the winner will face either Gent or Rapid Vienna.

The first legs will be played on Sept. 22 or 23 and return games are set for Sept. 29 or 30. The 32-team draw for the group stage is scheduled for Oct. 1 in Athens.

Losing teams in the Champions League playoffs will switch to the group stage of the Europa League.

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