PAOK to meet Ajax or Basel in Champions League qualifying
PAOK will play against Ajax or Basel in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.
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The Thessalonikis, who finished second in this year’s Greek SuperLeague, will begin next season’s European campaign in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid defeated Marseille 3:0 in the final of this year’s UEFA Europa League, a result that had a negative and direct impact on the PAOK. Marseille’s failure to defeat Atletico assured PAOK’s place in the unseeded group (rather than seeded group) of the UEFA Champions League 2nd qualifying round.
This development has to do with UEFA’s Coefficient Rankings and the Europa League champion’s assured spot in the following year’s Champions League group stages. Since this year’s Europa League champion, Atletico, have already secured a spot in next year’s Champions League group stages due to their second place finish in the La Liga, France will now be granted a third team in the Champions League group stages while Turkey will gain an additional team in the qualifying stages.
This chain of events assures PAOK will be unseeded in the second qualifying round draw along with Sturm Graz (Austria) while Ajax (Holland) and Basel (Switzerland) will be seeded in the draw. This puts PAOK in a difficult position ahead of the June 19th draw as both possible opponents are respectable and strong European clubs.
If PAOK bow out of the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round they will continue to the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round while success in the Champions League second qualifying round will see the Dikefalos tou Vorra advance to the Champions League third qualifying round.
UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round Draw
Seeded Teams: Basel, Ajax
Unseeded Teams: PAOK, Sturm Graz