Arsenal face tough road to CL group stage

Arsenal face a challenging examination against Udinese in the Champions League play-offs, while Bayern Munich are set to meet FC Zurich.Champions League regulars who have lost in the knock-out stages to Barcelona in each of the last two seasons, Arsenal have been forced to qualify after finishing fourth in the English Premier League last season.

And in Serie A side Udinese, they face arguably the toughest opponent of the unseeded teams featured in the ‘League’ route of Friday’s draw in Switzerland.

The first leg of the tie will be played at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

Bayern, who finished third in the Bundesliga last season, are also at home after a kinder draw paired them against Swiss club FC Zurich.

Danish side OB have a daunting engagement with Spanish club Villarreal, another team to feature regular in European competition.

In two more evenly-matched ties, Dutch side FC Twente face off against Liga Sagres runners-up Benfica.

And French Champions League experts Lyon tackle Russian club Rubin Kazan, noted for their admirable record of one win, one loss and two draws in four meetings with Barcelona between 2009 and 2010.

In the ‘Champions’ route to the group stage, contested between national champions in minor European leagues, Belgian title holders Genk are up against Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa.

Swedish side Malmo are rewarded for their third-qualifying round triumph over Glasgow Rangers with a tie against Croatians Dinamo Zagreb.

Danish champions Copenhagen take on Czech newcomers Viktoria Plzen.

Polish club Wisla Krakow play Cypriots APOEL, and Belarusian side Bate Borisov tackle Austrians Sturm Graz.