Atromitos & Asteras Tripolis’ path to the UEFA Europa League group stages
AGONAsport’s Sarantos Kaperonis explains Atromitos’ & Asteras Tripolis’ path to the UEFA Europa League group stages breaking down the possible opponents, the qualifying format, and key dates during the qualifying process.
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Greece’s representatives for the 2018/19 UEFA season
At the end of the 2016/17 UEFA season, Greece finished 14th in UEFA's Associations’ Club Coefficient Ranking. With this placement, the 2017/18 Greek SuperLeague and Greek Cup yielded a total of 5 representatives for next year's 2018/19 UEFA Champions League & Europa League. The top two teams from the SuperLeague will enter the Champions League (AEK, PAOK) while the 3rd-5th placed team of the SuperLeague (Olympiacos, Atromitos, Asteras Tripolis) will enter the UEFA Europa League (Asteras were granted a place in Europe due to PAOK winning the Greek Cup).
Atromitos & Asteras path to the Europa League group stages
Different from previous seasons, Europa League qualifying will be separated into two groups: The Champions Route, consisting of teams that won their domestic leagues and were eliminated in Champions League qualifying, and the League Route, consisting of teams that did not win their domestic leagues (majority of the teams). As non-league champions, Atromitos and Asteras Tripolis will participate in the League Route.
As Greece’s SuperLeague fourth placed team, Atromitos will enter the UEFA Europa League 2ndd qualifying round (League Route), meaning the Peristeri outfit will need to progress through THREE qualifying rounds (2nd round, 3rd round, and playoffs) to qualify for the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League group stages.
Asteras Tripolis were granted a place in Europe after PAOK were crowned Greek Cup champions. The Greek Cup champion is allocated a place in Europe, however, since PAOK will be playing in next year’s Champions League, the SuperLeague’s 5th placed team (Asteras Tripolis) will take the Europa League spot allocated to the Cup champion. Like Atromitos, Asteras Tripolis will begin in the UEFA Europa League 2nd qualifying round (League Route) and will need to progress through THREE qualifying rounds (2nd round, 3rd round, and playoffs) to qualify for the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League group stages.
All qualifying rounds consist of a two-legged playoff and the team with the most goals over two legs (on aggregate) will progress to the next round. In the case of a tie on aggregate after two legs, the team with the most away goals will advance. For more clarification on the qualifying process, follow the links to the full Champions League Format and Europa League Format.
Atromitos & Asteras possible opponents
Due to Atromitos and Asteras’ low placement in UEFA's Club Coefficient Ranking (183rd, 135th), the clubs will be "seeded" in the 2nd qualifying round, but will be “unseeded” in the 3rd qualifying round and playoff draws, leading to theoretically easier opponents in the second round, but much tougher opponents in the third round and playoffs.
Some notable possible opponents for both teams in the 2nd qualifying round include: Anorthosis (CYP), AEK Larnaka (AEK), AIK (SWE), Aberdeen (SCO), Rangers (SCO), and Hibernian (SCO).
If Atromitos and Asteras Tripolis advance to the Europa League 3rd qualifying round or playoff qualifying round, some notable possible opponents include the teams mentioned above plus Sevilla (ESP), Zenit (RUS), Besiktas (TUR), FC Kobenhavn (DEN), AZ Alkmaar (NED), Feyenoord (NED), Leipzig (GER), Burnley (ENG), Partizan (SRB), and Bordeaux (FRA).
Important Champions League qualifying dates for Atromitos & Asteras
19 June: Second qualifying round draw
23 July: Third qualifying round draw
26 July: Second qualifying round, first leg
2 August: Second qualifying round, second leg
6 August: Playoff round draw
9 August: Third qualifying round, first leg
16 August: Third qualifying round, second leg
23 August: Play-off round, first leg
30 August: Play-off round, second leg