Football

Champions League Draw Reveals Dundalk, Celtic And Linfield's Potential Second Round Opponents

Champions League Draw Reveals Dundalk, Celtic And Linfield's Potential Second Round Opponents

The draw for the second round of the Champions League has been completed following yesterday's first round draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

League of Ireland champions Dundalk now know that they will meet either Albanian champions Partizani Tirana or Azerbaijani side Qarabag, who have won six straight league titles, if they can get past Riga FC of Latvia in the first round.

Celtic will face Nomme Kalju of Estonia or North Macedonians Shkendija if they reach the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

The Scottish champions face Bosnia's FK Sarajevo in the first qualifying round next month following yesterday's initial Champions League draw.

Meanwhile, Northern Irish champions Linfield face either Belarusian champions BATE Borisov or Polish champions Piast Gliwice if they beat Rosenborg in their tie.

The three sides will need to navigate four qualifying rounds in total to make it to the lucrative group stages of Europe's premier club competition.

The first round ties will kick off on July 9th and 10th, with the second legs due to take place the following week on July 16th and 17th.

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The first legs for the second qualifying round will be played on July 23rd or 24th with the returns legs a week later on July 30th or 31st.

Dundalk and Celtic have home advantage in the first legs of both the first and second rounds following the Champions League draw.

Losers from the first round of Champions League qualifying will drop down into the second round of qualifiers for the Europa League, with losers from the second round of Champions League qualification dropping into the Europa League qualifiers at the third stage.

But if Celtic lost to FK Sarajevo, Neil Lennon's men will drop immediately into the third round of Europa League qualification.

A defeat against Riga next month would see Dundalk take on the loser of the meeting between BATE Borisov and Piast Gliwice in the Europa League.

As for Linfield, defeat for Linfield would see them face off against the loser between Finnish champions HJK Helsinki and Faroese champions HB Torshavn.

With additional reporting from AFP

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Kevin Beirne

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