Atromitos and Aris’ path to the UEFA Europa League group stages
AGONAsport’s Sarantos Kaperonis explains Atromitos and Aris’ path to the UEFA Europa League group stages breaking down the possible opponents, the qualifying format, and key dates during the qualifying process.
Greece’s representatives for the 2019/20 UEFA season
At the end of the 2017/18 UEFA season, Greece finished 15th in UEFA's Associations’ Club Coefficient Ranking. With this placement, the 2018/19 Greek Super League and Cup yielded a total of five representatives for next year's 2019/20 UEFA Champions League and Europa League. The top two teams from the Super League will enter the Champions League (PAOK, Olympiacos) while the third through fifth placed teams of the Super League (AEK, Atromitos, Aris) will enter the UEFA Europa League (fifth placed Aris were granted a place in Europe due to PAOK winning the Greek Cup).
Atromitos & Aris’ path to the Europa League group stages
Similar to last season, 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 a non champions, both Atromitos and Aris will participate in the League Route.
As Greece’s Super League fourth place team, Atromitos will enter the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round (League Route), meaning the Peristeri outfit will need to progress through THREE qualifying rounds (second, third, and playoff rounds) to qualify for the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League group stages.
Aris 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 Super League’s fifth placed team (Aris) will take the Europa League spot allocated to the Cup champion. Like Atromitos, Aris will begin in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round (League Route) and will need to progress through THREE qualifying rounds (second, third, and playoff rounds) to qualify for the 2019/20 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 link to the full Europa League Format.
Atromitos & Aris’ possible opponents
Due to Atromitos and Aris’ low placement in UEFA's Club Coefficient Ranking (both receive Greece’s minimum total of 4.280 in 186th place), the clubs will be "seeded" in the second qualifying round, but will be “unseeded” in the third qualifying round and playoff draws. This leads 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 second qualifying round include: AEL Limassol (CYP), Viitorul (ROU), Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO), Maccabi Haifa (ISR), CSKA Sofia (BUL).
If Atromitos or Aris advance to the Europa League third qualifying round or playoff qualifying round, some notable possible opponents include the teams mentioned above plus Roma (ITA), Sparta Prague (CZE), Braga (POR), Eintracht Frankfurt (GER), FCSB (ROU), Feyenoord (NED), Espanyol (ESP), Malmo (SWE), Spartak Moscow (RUS), AZ Alkmaar (NED).
Important Europa League qualifying dates for Atromitos and Aris
18 June: Second qualifying round raw
22 July: Third qualifying round draw
25 July: Second qualifying round, first leg
1 August: Second qualifying round, second leg
5 August: Playoff round draw
8 August: Third qualifying round, first leg
15 August: Third qualifying round, second leg
22 August: Play-off round, first leg
29 August: Play-off round, second leg