UEFA have announced the groups for tomorrow’s Europa League Second Qualifying Round Draw.
Following the Lakesiders triumph out in Malta, they progressed into the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League.
The night before the draw, UEFA have split the 92 teams into groups of seeded and unseeded teams. Bala Town have been put into Group 5 as an unseeded team, with the 3 seeded teams being Aberdeen of Scotland, Standard Liege of Belgium and Willem II of the Netherlands. Therefore we will face either one of them 3 seeded teams in a one legged tie on the 17th of September.
Aberdeen FC needs no introduction in terms of on the European Stage. However if you haven’t heard of Aberdeen before, they are a professional side based in Aberdeen, Scotland. In their 117 year history, they have never been relegated from the top divison in Scotland and boast 2 European Trophies to their name, having won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Super Cup in 1983. The great Sir Alex Ferguson managed Aberdeen during this time, where he guided them to 3 League Championships, 4 Scottish Cups and 1 League Cup, 1 Drybrough Cup and not forgetting the 2 European Cups in the space of 7 years. Aberdeen’s long European history has also seen them face another Welsh side, as Barry Town squared up against them in the UEFA Cup of 1996, in the First Qualifying round, however a 3-1 home win in the first leg and a 3-3 draw in the away leg, saw Aberdeen progress into the next round. They qualified for the Europa League this season by finishing in the top 4 of the Scottish Premiership last season and progressed to the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League by demolishing NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands 6-0 at home.
Standard Liege are also a big name on the European Stage, having played over 200 games in various European competitions over their 122 year history. Liege are a Belgian professional side who are based in the city of Liege. They are regarded as one of the most successful clubs in Belgium, having captured 10 Belgian League Titles, and being in the Belgian Top Divison since 1921, which is the longest top flight run of any team in Belgium. Throughout their 200+ European fixtures, they have reached 2 European Finals in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1982 and the UEFA Inertoto Cup in 1996. The only Welsh club they have faced, are Cardiff City in the English Football League, squaring off against them twice in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and 1993, both times overcoming the Welsh side over 2 legs. Their most recent European adventure was in the 2019-2020 Europa League season, where they would automatically enter the Group Stage and face off against Vitoria Guimaraes, Eintracht Frankfurt and Arsenal, however would bow out at the Group Stage along with Vitoria Guimaraes. Liege enter the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League, having finished 5th in their the Belgian First Divison.
Willem II on the other hand have entered European Competitions just the 4 times, with the latest feature being in 2005/06. Willem II are a professional Dutch side, who play in the Eredivise and have a list of notable superstars having played for them, as this list includes the likes of Jaap Stam, Frenkie De Jong, Marc Overmars, Sami Hyypia and Virgil Van Dijk. However the club have seen relegation to the Second Divison of Dutch Football in their 124 year history, with the club now on a 6 year spell of being in the Eredivise . Although in their long history, they have conquered the Eredivise 3 times in the years 1916, 1951 and 1954. Therefore, this will be Willem II’s 5th European adventure, having qualified for the Europa League Second Qualifying Round after finishing 5th in the Eredivise last season, however not without some controversy following the Eredivise’s decision to cancel their season due to the Coronavirus crisis, meaning there was no Champion elected and the European Competitions spots were under threat with UEFA. However UEFA granted Willem II their Europa League spot on the current standings of the Eredivise, with Utrecht only 3 points behind Willem II in the race for a European play-off spot.
Therefore on Monday, 31st of August at 12pm BST over in the UEFA headquarters in Nyon Switzerland, the Lakesiders will discover their opponents in the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League. To watch the draw, head over to UEFA.COM at 12pm.