These are the teams that Celtic might end up facing in the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds as they try to make the group stage of the competition.
It’s a good job Celtic are seeded for all the qualifying rounds in the upcoming Champions League qualification and play off phase. There are some sticky ties coming up, especially if drawn away from home in a single one legged qualifier. And the prospect of what could have been legendary away trips too.
Fans won’t get the chance to buy a pint pre game in a heaving pub or stand and belt out YNWA in a bank of green and white clad supporters in a stand. Equally away trips may be out of the question for a while, but let’s look at what we could have had as tough games and some fun prospects at each round and enjoy the idea anyway. It’s speculation but factually based on potential opponents at each stage.
To get to the lucrative Champions League group stages Celtic have 3 one leg qualifiers to win, followed by a two legged home and away playoff. Although Celtic will now be a seeded team throughout based on their coefficient, they will be subject to the luck of the draw for home advantage or an away trip.
Behind closed doors football, if confirmed throughout, could possibly have an impact and eradicate any potential twelfth man crowd backing advantage. But with travel, climate, unfamiliar surroundings and possible time adjustments, home advantage will still come into play.
The seeding should mean Celtic play lesser rated teams but that’s not always how it works, as we’ll see here. The coefficient points are based on a 5 year average so very recent top form may not yet fully factor in those points.
For all the following possible opponents there are lots of caveats. The main being as we look at later rounds, we do assume the seeded teams win and get through. It may not work out that way in practice for all of them. We will see who Celtic draw for the first two rounds on 9 and then 10 August.
Qualifying Round 1 – August 18 and 19
Celtic are up against teams from all across Europe, Malta, Iceland, Belarus, Latvia etc to name but a few. You might not expect the Swedish league champions to be unseeded and in amongst the rest of the draw at this stage. Djurgårdens IF are there though and could be tough opponents for the Hoops.
It’s their first league win for 14 years and is perhaps a good example of where the coefficient points don’t tell the whole truth. Any club that can win the Swedish league is a tough opponent in a one off game. And at expensive costs for a pint in Sweden any form of away day would have been a dear one.
On the other hand, if some form of away trip could have been possible for fans, and Celtic do get an away draw, what about one to Albania to face FC Tirana who are a possible opponent at this stage.
If travel and tickets to the game were allowed there’d be a huge, socially distanced party likely at the new Celtic CSC with a chorus of ‘Let the people sing’ perhaps led by the Albanian President. Even if tickets were in short supply it could still be an attraction for many. That would surely be QR1’s fun tie of the round in normal times!