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Friday, 24 June 2016

Champions League

The Champions League starts next week with the qualifying rounds to see who makes it into the competition proper. As ever in football things will not go according to seedings so although we can calculate what pot we will be in Pot 3, the make-up of Pot 4 especially is dependent upon who makes it through all the qualifying.

I always like to see as many British teams as possible and like to see the Irish or Welsh get through, as well as Celtic. The New Saints from Wales play on 28 June and we have played Flora Tallinn in the Europa League before. The Lincoln Red Imps are from Gibralter and Valletta is in Malta, a lovely place to visit.

The Second Qualifying Round starts on 12 July and sees Celtic play Flora Tallinn or Lincoln Red Imps, both of which you would expect them to beat. Other notable sides include Qarabag, recent Europa league opponents, Dinamo Zagreb, where we frequently send scouts, Legia Warsaw, where we reputedly have a transfer target, APOEL, again recent Europa League opponents, Ludogrets, who gave Liverpool a tough time, Ferencváros, Red Star Belgrade, two names from the past, Rosenborg, BATE Borisov, a side with Champions League experience, Copenhagen, Dundalk (Republic of Ireland) and Crusaders (Northern Ireland).

All this is building up to the Group Stage draw on 25 August.

First qualifying round

The draw for the first and second qualifying rounds was held on 20 June 2016.The first legs will be played on 28 and 29 June, and the second legs will be played on 5 and 6 July 2016.
Team 1AggTeam 21st leg2nd leg
Flora Tallinn EstoniaMatch 1Gibraltar Lincoln Red Imps28–29 Jun5–6 Jul
The New Saints WalesMatch 2San Marino Tre Penne28 Jun5–6 Jul
Valletta MaltaMatch 3Faroe Islands B36 Tórshavn28 Jun5 Jul
FC Santa Coloma AndorraMatch 4Armenia Alashkert28–29 Jun5–6 Jul

Second qualifying round

The first legs will be played on 12 and 13 July, and the second legs will be played on 19 and 20 July 2016.
Team 1AggTeam 21st leg2nd leg
Qarabağ AzerbaijanLuxembourg F91 Dudelange12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Hapoel Be'er Sheva IsraelMoldova Sheriff Tiraspol12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Olimpija Ljubljana SloveniaSlovakia Trenčín12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Red Bull Salzburg AustriaLatvia Liepāja12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Vardar Republic of MacedoniaCroatia Dinamo Zagreb12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Winners of match 2Cyprus APOEL12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Zrinjski Mostar Bosnia and HerzegovinaPoland Legia Warsaw12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Ludogorets Razgrad BulgariaMontenegro Mladost Podgorica12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Dinamo Tbilisi Georgia (country)Winners of match 412–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Žalgiris Vilnius LithuaniaKazakhstan Astana12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Skënderbeu Korçë AlbaniaHungary Ferencváros12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
BATE Borisov BelarusFinland SJK12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Winners of match 3Serbia Red Star Belgrade12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Rosenborg NorwaySweden IFK Norrköping13 Jul20 Jul
Dundalk Republic of IrelandIceland FH12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Winners of match 1Scotland Celtic12–13 Jul19–20 Jul
Crusaders Northern IrelandDenmark Copenhagen12–13 Jul19–20 Jul


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