It's only been seven weeks since AC Milan were crowned champions of Europe with a 2-1 win against Liverpool in Athens, but the road to the 2008 season's UEFA Champions League final begins on Tuesday.
Of course, in all likelihood NONE of the 28 sides are involved in the the first qualifying round, will even make it to the group stages, but the money in being invovled in this stage means a lot to the little clubs.
(see our Champion League section for the blog post.)
For the first time the champions of Andorra, San Marino and Montenegro will be invoved in the competition and the inflow of money is an important step in raiing the standards of football for the small nations.
Kaunas likely to progress
FK Zeta will represent Montenegro, lining up against FBK Kaunas who are veterans of this stage as they prepare for their seventh first qualifying round fixture in eight seasons. Only twice have Kaunas failed to reach the second stage and though they have never progressed beyond that, Angel Cervenkov's team approach the tie in high spirits after claiming a maiden Lithuanian Super Cup triumph last month.
Sheriff a tough task for Andorran side
Andorran champions FC Ranger's travel to FC Sheriff for the right to meet Besiktas JK in the next round.
Sheriff saw their UEFA Champions League hopes ended by FC Spartak Moskva 12 months ago but pushed the Russian team all the way before missing out on goal difference and have been busy strengthening ahead of this campaign.
Striker Sasa Kajkut and midfielder George Daniel Negrut have both arrived in Tiraspol, raising hopes the Moldovan champions can go further this term.
Top sides await the winners
Red Star Belgrade who were European champions in 1991 will meet either FK Pobeda or FC Levadia Tallinn while Scottish side Glasgow Rangers FC will face the victors of the Zeta tie.
RELATED LINKS :
UEFA Champions League Live Scores
UEFA Champions League Betting Previews