PAOK unseeded in upcoming UCL draw
PAOK will be unseeded in the upcoming draw for the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
With the conclusion of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round on Wednesday, PAOK were officially placed in the unseeded pot for the upcoming UEFA Champions League third qualifying round draw. The draw will take place on Monday.
To be seeded for Monday’s draw, PAOK needed three higher ranked teams to be eliminated in the first qualifying round, including Astana, Ludogorets, BATE Borisov, and Celtic. Although chances for this to occur seemed slim, it became a close reality as Astana and Ludogorets were eliminated by Cluj and Ferencvaros, respectively, However, BATE Borisov prevailed over Piast Gliwice in dramatic fashion.
The side from Poland managed a 1:1 draw on the road against the Belarussian champions in the first leg and took an early lead in Wednesday’s second leg matchup. However, two goals in the span of five minutes late in the second half (82, 87) gave BATE the 2:3 win on aggregate and a ticket to the second qualifying round.
With second qualifying round draw already having taken place in June, PAOK will find out their opponents in the third qualifying round on Monday. Possible opponents include:
Celtic (SCO) - Kalju Nomme (EST)
Kobenhavn (DEN) - The New Saints (WAL)
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) - Saburtalo Tbilisi (GEO)
BATE Borisov (BLR) - Rosenborg (NOR)
APOEL (CYP) - Sutjeska Niksic (MNE)
PAOK will be unseeded along with:
Cluj (ROU) - Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR)
Ferencváros (HUN) - Valletta (MLT)
Dundalk (IRL) - Qarabag Agdam (AZE)
Red Star Belgrade (SRB) - HJK Helsinki (FIN)
Maribor (SVN) - AIK Stockholm (SWE)
The Thessalnokiks will surely want to avoid last year’s UEFA Champions League semi-finalists, Ajax, as a pairing with the Dutch side will pose an extremely difficult task. The Dikefalos tou Vora will also hope to avoid a draw with Scottish champions, Celtic, as they always pose a threat on the European stage. Last season, however, AEK defeated Celtic over two legs in the same round of qualifying before knocking off Vidi in the qualifying playoffs to reach the group stages.