August 27, 2013 / 10:08 PM / 4 years ago

Schalke, Vienna and Steaua qualify amid drama

BERNE (Reuters) - Schalke 04, Austria Vienna and former European champions Steaua Bucharest survived drama-packed, topsy-turvy playoff ties to secure Champions League group stage places, and handsome payouts, on Tuesday.

PAOK Salonika's Giannis Skondras (C) is tackled by Schalke 04's Atsuto Uchida (R) during their Champions League soccer match in the city of Thessaloniki August 27, 2013. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis

Arsenal, as expected, reached Europe’s lucrative top tier competition for the 16th time in a row, beating Fenerbahce 2-0 for a 5-0 aggregate win, while FC Basel completed a comfortable 6-2 aggregate victory over Ludogorets Razgrad.

Schalke, held 1-1 at home by PAOK in the first leg, won 3-2 away to the Greek side in the return, scoring their second and third goals with 10 men after Jermaine Jones was sent off.

Adam Szalai scored twice for the Bundesliga side, who were facing their former coach Huub Stevens, while their other goal was a brilliant effort by Julian Draxler.

Austria Vienna, 2-0 winners at coachless Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg, took an early lead in the return, looked to have blown it as they fell 3-1 behind, only to snatch a decisive late goal which put them in the group stage for the first time.

Steaua Bucharest, held 1-1 at home by Legia Warsaw in the first leg, took advantage of a calamitous opening period from the Polish side to go 2-0 ahead inside nine minutes.

Legia fought back for a 2-2 draw on the night but it was not enough as Steaua went through on away goals following the 3-3 draw on aggregate.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris

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