Four-time champion Bayern Munich and Villarreal won their playoffs to reach the Champions League group stage, while Dinamo Zagreb held off Malmo to return after an 11-year absence.
Mario Gomez got the only goal as Bayern, whose Allianz Arena will host the May 19, 2012 final, won 1-0 at FC Zurich last night to advance 3-0 over the two-match series. Villarreal beat Denmark’s Odense 3-0 at home for a 3-1 total.
Croatian champion Dinamo sealed a place in the Aug. 25 draw with a 4-3 aggregate win over Malmo following its 2-0 loss in Sweden. Dinamo, which last played in the group stage in the 1999-2000 season, played the final 40 minutes with 10 men after Sime Vrsaljko was red-carded. Genk and Apoel Nicosia also advanced last night.
The 10 playoff winners join 22 automatic entrants in the 32-team group stage of Europe’s elite club soccer competition. Clubs received a minimum of 7.2 million euros ($10.3 million) from tournament organizer UEFA for participating last season.
Arsenal, Lyon and Viktoria Plzen take leads into today’s five second-leg playoff matches. Two-time champion Benfica and Sturm Graz host return games after drawing on the road.
The 32 teams will be split into four seeding pots at the group-stage draw in Monaco with one from each drawn into eight groups. Teams from the same country can’t meet each other.
TUESDAY’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAYOFFS RESULTS =========================================== APOEL NICOSIA 3-1 WISLA KRAKOW Pareiko 29 og Wilk 71 Ailton 54, 86
Apoel Nicosia advances 3-2 on aggregateFC ZURICH 0-1 BAYERN MUNICH Gomez 7
Bayern Munich advances 3-0 on aggregateGENK 2-1 MACCABI HAIFA Vossen 35 Golsa 37 Buffel 41 Aggregate: 3-3, Genk advances 4-1 on penalties MALMO 2-0 DINAMO ZAGREB Figueiredo 69 Jansson 86
Dinamo Zagreb advances 4-3 on aggregateVILLARREAL 3-0 ODENSE BK Rossi 50, 66 Marchena 82 Villarreal advances 3-1 on aggregate