SPORTS

Northern challenge for Greeks in Europe

Three Greek teams will have to travel to Northern Europe this month for the Champions League and the Europa League, but are the favorites to advance to the next round, according to the draws conducted on July 15 in Switzerland.

Panathinaikos will face Danish runner-up Odense for the third qualifying round of the Champions League, vying for a place in the Champions League playoffs that lead to the lucrative group stage.

The first game will take place in Denmark on July 26 or 27, with the return match in Athens on August 2 or 3.

The Greens managed to avoid bigger names such as Russia’s Rubin Kazan and Trabzonspor of Turkey, but will need to get into shape fast as the Danish championship is beginning this weekend and Odense is likely to be much better prepared than the Greeks.

In the Europa League?s third qualifying round PAOK will face Norwegian club Valerenga or Mika of Armenia, with the first match in Thessaloniki on July 28 and the return match away on August 4. PAOK played Valerenga two years ago and managed to go through.

Provided Olympiakos Volou sees off Rad Belgrade, which it beat 1-0 away in the first leg of the second qualifying round, it will meet either Differdange of Luxembourg or Estonia?s Levadia Tallinn.

The Volos club will host Rad on July 21 for the return leg and if it qualifies it will first travel to Luxembourg or Estonia on July 28 and then entertain its opponent at Volos on August 4.