By DAN KARELL
It’s only been one month since the UEFA Champions League final, but in eight days, the first qualifying round for next season’s Champions League will be underway.
At UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, the draws for the first and second round of qualifying for the Champions League took place, pairing American winger Josh Gatt and Norweigian champions FK Molde with Sligo Rovers F.C. in the Irish Premier Division in the second round.
The two-legged match-up is set to take place on July 16/17 and July 22/23, with the venues for the home and away legs to be set at a later date. Also drawn in the second qualifying round were Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv, Scottish champions Celtic FC, and Belorussian champions BATE Borisov, the latter two both in last year’s group stage of the competition.
Here’s a look at the full draw of the 1st and 2nd qualifying rounds:
First qualifying round draw (July 2/3 and 9/10)
FC Shirak (ARM) v SP Tre Penne (SMR)
FC Lusitans (AND) v v EB/Streymur (FRO)
Second qualifying round draw (July 16/17 and 23/24)
Neftçi PFK (AZE) v KS Skënderbeu (ALB)
FC Steaua Bucureşti (ROU) v FK Vardar (MKD)
FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE) v FK Željezničar (BIH)
FC Sheriff (MDA) v FK Sutjeska (MNE)
Birkirkara FC (MLT) v NK Maribor (SVN)
Sligo Rovers FC (IRL) v Molde FK (NOR)
IF Elfsborg (SWE) v FC Daugava Daugavpils (LVA)
HJK Helsinki (FIN) v JK Nõmme Kalju (EST)
FK Ekranas (LTU) v FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL)
The New Saints FC (WAL) v Legia Warszawa (POL)
Celtic FC (SCO) v Cliftonville FC (NIR)
GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) v CS Fola Esch (LUX)
Győri ETO FC (HUN) v Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)
FC BATE Borisov (BLR) v FC Shakhter Karagandy (KAZ)
FC Shirak (ARM)/SP Tre Penne (SMR) v FK Partizan (SRB)
ŠK Slovan Bratislava (SVK) v PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL)
FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v FC Lusitans (AND)/EB/Streymur (FRO)
What do you make of the draw? Do you see Molde moving on to the second round? Happy the Champions League is back in eight days time?
Share your thoughts below.