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Dundalk and Celtic learn potential opponents in Champions League second qualifying round

The Lilywhites will be heading to Albania or Azerbaijan if they can overcome Latvian champions Riga FC.

Dundalk captain Brian Gartland.
Dundalk captain Brian Gartland.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DUNDALK AND CELTIC now know exactly what’s on offer in their respective ties in the first qualifying round of the 2019-20 Champions League.

Should Dundalk get the better of Latvian champions Riga FC, they’ll advance to face the winners of the tie between Albanian title-holders Partizani Tirana and Qarabag, who have won six consecutive titles in Azerbaijan.

Celtic’s reward for seeing off FK Sarajevo of Bosnia & Herzegovina will be a meeting with either Nõmme Kalju from Estonia or KF Shkëndija of North Macedonia.

The draw for the second qualifying round was made today in Nyon, Switzerland, with Dundalk and Celtic again due to have home advantage in their first legs if they progress.

In the opening round, the SSE Aitrtricity League Premier Division champions will host Riga FC at Oriel Park on Wednesday, 10 July. The return leg will be held at Riga’s Skonto Stadium seven days later. 

The second qualifying round fixtures are scheduled to be played on 23/24 July and 30/31 July.

Partizani Tirana, who recently ended a 26-year wait for a league title in Albania, have had scant success on the European front in recent seasons.

On the other hand, Qarabag were involved in the group stages in Europe in each of the past five years — once in the Champions League and on four occasions in the Europa League.

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If Dundalk fail against Riga FC, they’ll have the consolation of a place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League, where they’ll face the loser of the tie between Belarusian champions BATE Borisov — who they eliminated from the Champions League in 2016 — and Polish champions Piast Gliwice.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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