Which clubs await Dundalk in the Champions League playoff round?

Dundalk will be unseeded and could face a clutch of clubs

Dundalk, David McMillan,

Dundalk’s David McMillan celebrates ©INPHO/Ciaran Culligan

Celebrations have been had, the dust has settled and Dundalk can now see the UEFA Champions League group stages ahead.

There is one more step though. They will have to negotiate the final playoff round step to make that a reality - although there is a consolation of a Europa League group stages if they don't make it.

But the Champions League remains the biggest carrot with all the revenue and publicity it generates.

The playoff round already contains big clubs like of Roma, Manchester City, Villarreal and Porto. But Dundalk won't face any of those sides because of the way the playoff round is structured.

Teams that have qualified for Europe as reigning league champions go down the Champions Route side. But clubs like Man City and Villarreal who qualified for that season's qualifiers without winning their league go down the League Route.

In Dundalk's Champions Route side, there is another split between seeded sides and unseeded sides. Dundalk are unseeded.

But results from tonight remaining third qualifying round games come into play when it comes to deciding who Dundalk will play.

Celtic are one of those remaining sides who have still to book their place down the Champions Route. But if they defeat Kazakhstan's Astana tonight, they will be a possible opponent for Dundalk because of UEFA's club co-efficients which rank them in the top 60 among European clubs. Thus they would be seeded.

In contrast, Dundalk are ranked outside the Top 350 based on their results from the five previous seasons in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, which is why they do not go in as seeds. 

So here's how the Champions Route clubs either already through to the playoff round or still in contention to qualify are ranked by UEFA.

Clubs in bold are already into the playoff round. Clubs in italics are likely to make it into the playoff round or are leading (including away goals) after the first leg.

Olympiacos (24th) - Playing Hapoel Be'er Sheva (0-0 after first leg)

Viktoria Plzen (43th)

Celtic (54th) - Playing Astana (1-1 after first leg)

Red Bull Salzburg (48th) - Playing Partizani Tirana (Leading 1-0 after first leg)

APOEL (61st)

Legia Warsaw (74th) - Playing Trencin (Leading 1-0 after first leg)

Dinamo Zagreb (82th)

Ludogorets Razgads (83th)

FC Copenhagen (86st) - Playing Astra Giurgiu (1-1 after first leg)

Astana (137th) - Playing Celtic (1-1 after first leg)

Astra Giurgiu (153th) - Playing Copenhagen (1-1 after first leg)

Trencin (249th) - Playing Legia Warsaw (losing 1-0 after first leg)

Hapoel Ber Sheva (275th) - Playing Olympiacos (0-0 after first leg)

Dundalk (359th)

Partizani Tirana (414th) - Playing Red Bull (Losing 1-0 after first leg) 

If the five top-ranked sides in bold or italics go through then Dundalk will face one of: Olympiacos, Celtic, Viktoria Plzen, Red Bull Salzburg and APOEL