PSV Eindhoven or Viktoria Plzen in Olympiacos’ Champions League path
Olympiacos will play PSV Eindhoven or Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. AGONAsport’s Sarantos Kaperonis takes a closer look.
With Chelsea winning the UEFA Europa League, Olympiacos found out their possible opponents in next season’s UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. Olympiacos, who claimed second place in the 2019 Super League, will begin their UEFA Champions League campaign in the second qualifying round of the ‘League Route’ and will need to defeat three opponents to qualify for the group stages. The League Route consists of teams that did not win their domestic championships.
Chelsea’s UEFA Europa League crown means that the second qualifying round will consist of just four teams, including the domestic league runner-ups of Switzerland (Basel), the Netherlands (PSV Eindhoven), the Czech Republic (Viktoria Plzen), and Greece (Olympiacos).
The league runner-ups of Turkey (Basaksehir) and Austria (LASK Linz) will receive a bye to the third qualifying round. Had Arsenal won the Europa League, these two sides would have competed in the second qualifying round.
In addition, Chelsea’s Europa League triumph grants France’s third place side, Lyon, an automatic place in the Champions League group stages and they will avoiding the qualifying process all together. This comes as good news to Olympiacos as Lyon will be removed as a possible opponent further down the qualifying process, if the Greeks are to advance that far.
Due to Olympiacos’ high UEFA Coefficient ranking, the Reds will be seeded in the second qualifying round along with Basel while their possible opponents will be the two unseeded sides, PSV Eindhoven and Viktoria Plzen. The second qualifying round draw will take place on June 18th and the two matches will be played on July 23/24 and July 30/31.
Olympiacos will surely prefer to draw Viktoria Plzen in the second qualifying round as opposed to the powerful Dutch club. If Olympiacos advance to the next round, they will not only secure a place in the UEFA Europa League group stages (if they are eliminated in UCL qualifying), but will continue to be seeded for the third qualifying round draw.
In the third qualifying round, the league runner-ups of Portugal (Porto), the Ukraine (Dynamo Kyiv), Belgium (Club Brugge), Austria (LASK Linz), Turkey (Basaksehir), and the third placed team from Russia (Krasnodar), will join the qualifying process along with the two winners from the previous qualifying round. A total of eight teams will compete in the third qualifying round.
Olympiacos will once again be seeded in this draw (July 22), along with Porto, Dynamo Kyiv, and the winner of second qualifying round pair (Basel vs PSV or Viktoria Plzen) while the unseeded sides, Club Brugge, LASK Linz, Basaksehir, and Krasndaor will all be possible oponents for the Reds. At an initial look, each possible opponent will not strike fear into Olympiacos.
The four winners from the third qualifying round will advance to the playoffs (the final qualifying round) and the two winners will earn a ticket to the glorious group stages. Olympiacos will be unseeded in the final round of qualifying.
SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND
Seeded: Basel (SUI), Olympiacos (GRE)
Unseeded: PSV Eindhoven (NED), Viktoria Plzen (CZE)
THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND
Seeded: Porto (POR), Dynamo Kyiv (UKR), Both winners from the 2nd qualifying round
Unseeded: Basaksehir (TUR), LASK Link (AUT), Club Brugge (BEL), Krasnodar (RUS)
PLAYOFF QUALIFYING ROUND
The winners of the FC Porto and Dynamo Kyiv pairs will be seeded while the other two teams will be unseeded.