A new season begins for European football today with the draw of the 1st and 2nd qualifying round draw in Nyon, Switzerland but in this case i will focus exclusively in the teams that conform 1st qualifying round, we have from an absolute debutant to an experienced team and also a team that returns after some years ago, lets check out which teams im talking about:
SS Folgore (San Marino)
The team from Serravalle are making their absolute debut in UEFA Champions League after winning the San Marinese league for the 1st time in their history beating in the final 3-1 to Juvenes/Dogana and also achieving something historic, making the domestic double by winning the Coppa Titano(San Marino Cup), in the Coppa Titano they won 5-0 vs Murata.
Their previous European participation are from competing in the UEFA Europa League twice and in those matches Folgore lose both legs(vs FC Basel in 2000/01 and vs Buducnost Podgorica last season) they were the 1st participant from San Marino in UEFA competititon(UEFA Cup 2000/01).
Lincoln Red Imps (Gibraltar)
This will be the 2nd time in a row that they are competing in the UEFA Champions League and they wish to get into the 2nd qualifying round, last season they played vs the Faroese champions HB Torshavn drawing 1-1 in Gibraltar but losing in the away match, they did the domestic double last season by winning the Rock Cup beating Lynx FC 4-1.
FC Santa Coloma (Andorra)
They caused a massive shock last season eliminating the Armenian champion and favorite to qualify for the next round FC Banants 3-3 thanks to the away goals rule, they won 1-0 in Andorra and lose 3-2 in Armenia, in the 2nd qualifying round they played vs Maccabi Tel Aviv but the Israeli side were the strongest one and qualified for the next stage, anyway the Andorran champions went beynd their expectations and made a big surprise to everyone and now they wish to repeat the same and who knows even more by reaching the 3rd qualifyind round, getting into that stage would be more historic for them and also for Andorran football.
B36 Torshavn (Faroe Islands)
They return to the competition after 3 years of absence, in their last UEFA Champions League adventure they played vs Linfield FC from Northern Ireland but they couldn´t advance to the next stage, they wish to advance to the next stage like in 2006/07 season when they eliminated Birkirkara from Malta but played against strong opposition like Fenerbahce where B36 was eliminated by the Turkish champions. Only in 06/07 they progressed to the next stage but in 1998/99, 2002/03 and 2012/13 they were eliminated in the 1st qualifying round.
The 14th time Armenian champions are back in the competition after 4 years of absence, in their last appearance they played vs Czeh champions Viktoria Plzen but were eliminated in that stage, they wish to get inti the next stage like in 07/08 season when they eliminated Republic of Ireland champions Derry City FC but they European adventure ended being eliminated by Shakhtar Donetsk.
They have always reached until the 2nd qualifying round from the 2002/03 season until 2007/08 in a row but since 2008/09 until 2011/12 in a row they haven´t progressed into the next stage and now in their season of return they wish to go as far as they can. they count with experiend goalkeeper and member of the Armenian national team Roman Berezovskiy, also with David Manoyan as captain, Karlen Mkrtchyan and Levon Hayrapetyan being among the most important players of Pyunik.
Crusaders FC (Northern Ireland)
Another team which return to the competition, they last appearance in the UEFA Champions League was in the 1997/98 season, very long time ago, in that time they played vs Dinamo Tbilisi but Crusaders lose both matches and couldn´t qualify for the next stage, they have been most of the time in UEFA Europa League since then.
The New Saints (Wales)
They have been unlucky in recent years because they got strong opposition but they aim to repeat their best campaign so far in 2010/11 when they reached the 3rd qualifying round, they started in the 2nd qualifying round where they eliminated Bohemians FC from Republic of Irelandbut in the 3rd qualifying round they lose vs the Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht, after that they reached an historic stage they haven´t reached in all their history, they got into the UEFA Europa League playoff round but their dream to qualify for the group stage was cancelled by CSKA Sofia.
Levadia Tallinn (Estonia)
One of the most experienced teams, 2009/10 was their best season so far where they went so far into the 3rd qualifying round, eliminating Polish champions Wisla Krakow in 2nd QF Round but in the next stage they were eliminated vs Hungarian champions Debrecen VSC. Last season in UEFA Champions League they eliminated vs SP La Fiorita in 1st QF Round but they were eliminated by Sparta Praha in the next round. in 2000/01 they progressed of stage but in the 2nd QF Rnd they were eliminated by Shakhtar Donetsk, in 2007/08 they eliminated FK Pobeda from Macedonia but in the next stage they were eliminated by Red Star Belgrade on away goals after that they´ve been always eliminated in 1st round every time they played UEFA Champions League qualifying stages.