Possible UEL playoff opponents for PAOK, AEK, Aris and Atromitos
Ahead of Monday’s draw, AGONAsport looks at the possible opponents for PAOK, AEK, Aris and Atromitos in the playoff round of the 2019/2020 UEFA Europa League.
On Monday, the draw for the Europa League qualification playoffs will be held in Switzerland, with four Greek teams involved. In the second qualifying round, Aris and Atromitos managed to extend their European journey by defeating AE Limassol and FC DAC 1904 Dunajska Streda respectively, while AEK will join the competition in the third stage of qualification. PAOK, in the event of a defeat against Ajax in the UEFA Champions League, will drop down to the Europa League.
Let’s take a look at the possible opponents for each individual Hellenic club:
Seeded (teams eliminated from the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round champions path)
Match 4: APOEL (CYP) / Qarabağ (AZE)
Match 5: PAOK (GRE) / Ajax (NED)
Match 6: Maribor (SVN) / Rosenborg (NOR)
Unseeded (UEFA Europa League third qualifying round champions path winners)
Winner match 6: Sutjeska (MNE) / Linfield (NIR)
Winner match 7: Ludogorets (BUL) / The New Saints (WAL)
Winner match 8: Sarajevo (BIH) / BATE Borisov (BLR)
Winner match 9: Astana (KAZ) / Valletta (MLT)
Winner match 10: Slovan Bratislava (SVK) / Dundalk (IRL)
Naturally, PAOK are focused on defeating Ajax in the third Champions League qualifying round, but they will move into the Europa League playoffs if they fail to beat the Dutch champions. PAOK will be seeded for both the Champions League and Europa League playoff draws.
AEK (GROUP 2)
1: Sparta Praha (CZE) / Trabzonspor (TUR)
2: Feyenoord (NED) / Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
3: AEK Larnaca (CYP) / Gent (BEL)
4: Luzern (SUI) / Espanyol (ESP)
5: Universitatea Craiova (ROU) / AEK Athens (GRE)
6: Rijeka (CRO) / Aberdeen (SCO)
7: CSKA Sofia (BUL) / Zorya Luhansk (UKR)
8: Norrköping (SWE) / Hapoel Beer-Sheva (ISR)
AEK have to beat Universitatea Craiova in the third qualifying phase before they can think about the playoffs. Yesterday, Universitatea Craiova defeated Budapest Honved on penalties, but the match was overshadowed by crowd trouble as the referee was struck by a flare thrown from the crowd. It is highly likely that the game in Romania will be played behind closed doors.
The return leg in Athens will also be played inside an empty stadium as a result of the disgraceful scenes witnessed at the Champions League match between AEK and Ajax last November.
AEK are unseeded for the draw on Monday.
ARIS (GROUP 3)
1: Royal Antwerp (BEL) / Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)
2: Brøndby (DEN) / Braga (POR)
3: Vaduz (LIE) / Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)
4: Malmö (SWE) / Zrinjski (BIH)
5: Partizan (SRB) / Malatyaspor (TUR)
6: Thun (SUI) / Spartak Moskva (RUS)
7: Molde (NOR) / Aris Thessaloniki (GRE)
8: Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1926 (BUL) / Strasbourg (FRA)
9: Mariupol (UKR) / AZ Alkmaar (NED)
10: Neftçi (AZE) / Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv (ISR)
Making their European comeback, Aris edged out AEL in the second qualifying round, emerging victorious 1:0 on aggregate thanks to Nicolas Diguiny’s penalty in Larnaca. In the next phase, the Thessaloniki side will take on Molde, a Norwegian club which defeated Cukaricki 3:1 on aggregate this week. Just like AEK, Aris are unseeded for the playoffs.
ATROMITOS (GROUP 1)
1: Pyunik (ARM) / Wolverhampton Wanderers (ENG)
2: Legia Warszawa (POL) / Atromitos (GRE)
3: FCSB (ROU) / Mladá Boleslav (CZE)
4: Haugesund (NOR) / PSV Eindhoven (NED)
5: Torino (ITA) / Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR)
6: Ventspils (LVA) / Vitória SC (POR)
7: Austria Wien (AUT) / Apollon Limassol (CYP)
8: Midtjylland (DEN) / Rangers (SCO)
Pitted against the experienced Legia Warsaw in the third qualifying round, Atromitos certainly aren’t favourites to progress, but the thrilling victory over FC DAC 1904 Dunajska Streda in the second phase of qualification will have given the Peristeri-based organisation belief. Atromitos will be seeded in the draw process.
The clubs are ranked according to the coefficient of the highest-ranked teams in the third qualifying round ties and further split into seeding groups.
For Groups 1 and 2, two bowls will be prepared, one containing balls with slips of paper numbered 1 to 4 for the seeded pairings and the other containing balls with slips of paper numbered 5 to 8 for the unseeded pairings.
A ball will be taken from each bowl and placed in an empty bowl in the middle, where they will be shuffled. One of the two balls is drawn at random, then opened to display the number it contains. The second ball is drawn to complete the pairing. The result of this draw applies to both groups.
The clubs whose numbers correspond to the first ball drawn play their first game at home, against the sides whose numbers match the next ball drawn.
For Group 3, two bowls will be prepared, one containing the balls with slips of paper numbered 1 to 5 for the seeded pairings and the other containing the balls with slips of paper numbered 6 to 10 for the unseeded pairings.
A ball will be taken from each bowl and placed in an empty bowl in the middle, where they will be shuffled. One of the two balls is drawn at random, then opened to display the number it contains. The second ball is drawn to complete the pairing. In addition, the first ball drawn designates the home team for the first leg. This is repeated to produce the five ties.