The 12 clubs remaining in the race for the final UEFA Champions League group stage slots will be pared down to six in the next eight days.
There are American connections to two of the six ties.
Former USMNT midfielder Jesse Marsch manages Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg toward the next round, while Molde right back Henry Wingo came up with the Seattle Sounders.
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Salzburg are significant favorites to advance over two legs, odds accentuated by Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s seven players absent due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Marsch had previously said he did not want to go to Israel due to COVID-19 concerns, calling it “dangerous,” but has accepted the task at hand.
From Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung:
“The moment UEFA said we were going to play in Tel Aviv, it wasn’t a problem for me. Maccabi has a great team. We are not naive. We understand that we have to fight tomorrow.”
At 3:10 in some sportsbooks, Marsch’s men are the only club favored to win the first leg away. Salzburg is led by Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, who’ve helped the team thrive despite the sales of several stars including Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino.
Molde has a much tougher test with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who knocked off Celtic. That tie could go either way, while Slavia Prague and Olympiakos are respectively noticeable favorites to beat Midtjylland and Omonia Nicosia.
Dynamo Kiev will be expected to outlast Gent over two legs, while it would be a minor upset if PAOK takes down Krasnodar.
How to watch the UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round
Kickoff: 3 pm ET Tuesday and Wednesday
Stream: CBS All-Access (subscription required)
UEFA Champions League playoff round matches
All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague 0-0 Midtjylland
Krasnodar 2-1 PAOK
Gent v Dynamo Kiev
Molde v Ferencvaros
Olympiakos v Omonia
Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos
Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv