Werder Bremen will be confident of progressing into the Champions League group stages after beating Sampdoria 3‑1 in the first leg of their play-off tie.
The Bundesliga side took a 3-0 lead through Clemens Fritz's opener six minutes into the second half before Torsten Frings got a second via the penalty spot on 67 minutes – which saw Stefano Lucchini dismissed for a second booking - and Claudio Pizarro a third two minutes later.
However, Giampaolo Pazzini's excellent header in injury time gives the Italian team hope of clawing their way back in the second leg, in Genoa next week.
Meanwhile, Braga, who beat Celtic in the last round, beat Sevilla 1-0 in their first-leg tie. Partizan Belgrade and Anderlecht drew 2-2 in Serbia – a match that saw saw four goals scored in 13 minutes at the start of the second half – and Hapoel Tel Aviv left Austria with a commendable 3-2 win over Red Bull Salzburg.
In Switzerland, Valentin Stocker's 54th-minute strike gave Basle a 1-0 first leg lead over FC Sheriff of Moldova.