SPORTS

In Europe, the show is all set

The domestic soccer league has yet to begin but this week two of the country’s leading clubs, last year’s champion Panathinaikos and runner-up Olympiakos, begin their quests in the Champions League, Europe’s most prestigious club-level competition. Panathinaikos opens the country’s Champions League proceedings for the season tomorrow night at home against Rosenborg, a bitter memory in the past for the Greek team. The Norwegian club deprived Panathinaikos of a berth in August 1996 in the preliminary qualifiers. It was a great letdown for the Greek club which had enjoyed a fabulous run to the Champions League semifinals in the previous season. Panathinaikos, which drew a place in Group E, will also face Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven. To do well, the Greek team will need to improve on a troubling Greek Cup performance just days ago, a hard-fought 3-2 home win over third-division club Atsalenios in the competition’s first round. A second leg remains. On Wednesday, Olympiakos travels to Spain to meet Deportivo in a Group A match. Liverpool and Monaco, last year’s runner-up, have also drawn into the group. The two top-placed sides from eight groups advance to the competition’s knockout phase.