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From Celtic to Salzburg, here's who Dundalk could face next in the Champions League

They’re not finished yet.

The Dundalk Team The Dundalk team pictured before last night's win against BATE Borisov. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

DUNDALK MADE IRISH football history by defeating BATE Borisov to reach the Champions League play-offs, but they won’t have much time to bask in the glory.

Now just one win away from an unprecedented place in the group stages of the Champions League, they’ll be back in European action for a two-legged fixture which will take place on 16/17 and 23/24 August.

The draw for the play-off round will be held on Friday, and while there are still more third qualifying round games to be played tonight before the picture becomes entirely clear, the League of Ireland Premier Division champions already have a good indication of who they’ll be facing.

Dundalk will be joined in the play-off draw by the likes of Manchester City, Roma, Villarreal, Porto and Borussia Monchengladbach, but Stephen Kenny’s side can’t be paired with any of those clubs as they’ll be in a separate section of the draw.

Twenty teams will be in the hat at midday on Friday but the draw is split into two: The Champions Route is for teams — like Dundalk — who won their national league, while The League Route is designated for the rest.

Given that the draw is also seeded, there are only five possibilities for the Lilywhites, who will be unseeded due to their low coefficient. As of last night, the following teams have already joined Dundalk in the play-offs via The Champions Route: Viktoria Plzen, APOEL Nicosia, Dinamo Zagreb, Ludogorets.

Based on a current projection — which could very well change after tonight’s games — the seeded teams and therefore Dundalk’s potential next opponents will be one of the following:

Olympiacos (Greece)
Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic)
FC Salzburg (Austria)
Celtic (Scotland)
APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)

Dundalk are currently on course to be joined in the pot of unseeded teams by Legia Warsaw (Poland), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Ludogorets (Bulgaria) and FC Copenhagen (Denmark).

However, that could still change depending on how things unfold tonight. Despite being significant favourites, Olympiacos have only managed to bring a 0-0 draw to Israel for their game against Hapoel Be’er Sheva, so the Greek champions have plenty of work to do.

Celtic have the upper hand thanks to an away goal but their tie with Astana is still delicately poised at 1-1, while Red Bull Salzburg have a 1-0 first-leg lead as they prepare to entertain Partizani Tirana.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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