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Sports

Monaco take on Valencia for place in Champions League

media Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Neymar were instrumental in Barcelona's voyage to Uefa Champions League glory last season. Reuters

Twenty teams will fight for 10 places in the group stages of next season's Uefa Champions League. Last season's quarter-finalists Monaco are among the sides vying for the opportunity to test their mettle against the likes of holders Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG and Bayern Munich.

French side Monaco will take on Valencia for a place in the group stages of the Uefa Champions League.

The sides were placed together during the play-off draw on Friday at Uefa headquarters in the Swiss city of Nyon.

Valencia will host the first leg on 18 or 19 August and the return leg will take place a week later.

Last season Monaco reached the last eight of the competition before losing to Juventus.

They qualified for this season's preliminary rounds after finishing the 2014-15 Ligue 1 season in third place. They were four points behind Lyon - who advanced directly into the group stages - and two points ahead of Marseille who will turn out in the group stages of the Europa League.

Elsewhere Manchester United face Club Brugge. After summer spending of 80 million euros on the likes of the Netherlands international Memphis Depay and the Germany skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger, United will be expected to proceed to the group stages.

United have won European club football's most prestigious trophy on three occasions. But they weren't at the top table in 2014-15 because they finished seventh in the English Premier League in 2014 under former coach David Moyes.

But Louis Van Gaal guided them to fourth in the table last season behind Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal and the chance to earn a place back in the group stages.

Lazio go up against Bayer Leverkusen and the Scottish champions Celtic will take on Malmo. Astana from Kazakhstan will test themselves against the Cypriot outfit Apoel.

The Albanian club Skenderbeu will try to continue their fairy tale. They've won a record five consecutive titles since 2011 and are the first team from the country to reach the final play-off game. Dinamo Zagreb stand in the way of further glory.

By contrast Sporting Lisbon and CSKA Moscow have played in the group stages of the competition on several occasions. But only one of those two will progress this year to the tournament.

Elsewhere FC Basel take on Maccabi Tel-Aviv, there's an eastern European clash as BATE Borisov from Belarus play Partizan Belgrade and Rapid Vienna take on Shakhtar Donetsk.

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