Champions League qualifying draw results: Manchester United to face Club Brugge
The Champions League Qualifying draw held in Nyon, Switzerland as usual provided an easy looking passage to some while making sure others have a bumpy ride. Many eyes were on Manchester United going into the draw, they emerged with an opponent who they are expected to beat in Club Brugge. However, Valencia and Lazio could face a tougher challenge when they come up against Monaco and Leverkusen respectively.
Every season, one team from the Premier League who finishes 4th on the table goes into a playoff for a place in the group stages of the Champions League. This season that team was Manchester United. Along with 19 other team, they will go into a playoff that will decide the 10 teams to play in the next phase of UCL games.
The draw featured two parts, the Champions Route featuring champions of some of the lower ranked leagues including the seeded teams – FC Basel (SUI), Celtic (SCO), APOEL Nicosia (CYP), BATE Borisov (BLR), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) and the unseeded teams – Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR), Partizan Belgrade (SRB), Malmo (SWE), FK Astana (KAZ), Skenderbeu Korce (ALB).
The other League (Non-Champions) Route consisted of Manchester United, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting Lisbon as seeded teams and as unseeded opposition CSKA Moscow, Lazio, Monaco, Club Brugge, Rapid Vienna made the draw.
Champions Route Draw
Astana v APOEL
Skenderbeu v GNK Dinamo
Celtic v Malmö
Basel v Maccabi Tel Aviv
BATE v Partizan
League Route Draw
Lazio v Leverkusen
Manchester United v Club Brugge
Sporting Lisbon v CSKA Moskva
Rapid Wien v Shakhtar Donetsk
Valencia v Monaco
The matches will be played on 18/19 and 25/26 August over two legs. It will be followed by the immediately by the group stage draw on August 27, 2015.
Matches to Watch
The qualifying stages always pop up with a few games that draw attention and live up to the hype. While many Premier League fans will have an eye on Manchester United’s road to the group stage, there are a couple of other games that should be interesting in the qualifying stage.
A big decider will be Valencia v Monaco as the Spanish team will seek to exert their growing domestic influence in Europe and they come up against tough opposition in Monaco who are no strangers to the competition having come up with a few surprises in the last campaign.
Another game that could be interesting is Lazio v Leverkusen as the Italian team who haven’t played in the Champions League since 2007/08 come up against a Leverkusen side with a point to prove. The Champions draw also presents a potential cracker of a game as Celtic will take on Malmo to progress to the next round.
There will be no easy games despite it being early stages of the Champions League as teams vie to compete on the biggest stage of all.