DFC | Anticipation growing ahead of Monday week’s Champions League draw
Unseeded Lilywhites could face Celtic or BATE Borisov
Anticipation is growing amongst Dundalk FC supporters ahead of Monday week’s UEFA European Champions League draw in Nyon, Switzerland.
The Lilywhites will be one of 34 in total — 17 seeded and 17 unseeded — who will enter at the Second Qualifying Round stage. With a coefficient of 5.815, Dundalk FC are ranked as the third highest of the unseeded teams, behind MSK Zilina (5.850) and Zalgiris Vilnius (5.825).
On the other side of the draw, Celtic, with a coefficient of 42.785, are the highest ranked team while other notable seeds include BATE Borisov (29.475) and Legia Warsaw (28.450), who both faced Dundalk FC last season.
Stephen Kenny’s side kickstarted that European Odyssey with an away goals victory over Icelandic champions FH Hafnarfjordur (6.175) who are the lowest ranked seeded team in this year’s draw.
If UEFA decides to ‘regionalise’ the teams into groups before the draw — as they have done over the past two years — it looks likely that the League of Ireland champions will be paired with sides from ‘northern’ regions.
Last year, Dundalk were grouped with Celtic, FC Copenhagen, BATE Borisov, Rosenborg, Red Star Belgrade and FH Hafnarfjordur. In 2015, possible opponents included Celtic, BATE Borisov, Malmö, HJK Helsinki, Molde and FC Midtjylland.
There are five teams who look likely to be included in Dundalk FC’s geographical group: Celtic, along with Scandinavian sides FC Copenhagen, Rosenborg, Malmo and FH Hafnarfjordur.
BATE Borisov, as they have been for the past two years, are also likely to be included here with Legia Warsaw and Astana from Kazakhstan looking like outside bets to be thrown into the mix.
The first leg will be played on July 11th/12th with the return leg fixed for July 19th/20th. The draw for the Third Qualifying Round will be held between the two legs on July 14th.