Hearts in Europa League: 26 possible opponents, draw details, Euro giants
Hearts are slightly closer to identifying their possible opponents in the Europa League play-off round.
Wednesday brought the first qualifying round for the Champions League to a close with 15 teams dropping into the Conference League qualifiers.
Those sides can no longer be considered as potential opponents for Robbie Neilson’s men in their quest to reach the Europa League group stage.
Hearts face a two-legged tie to reach the groups of UEFA’s secondary competition. A loss would see the team who finished third in the Premiership last season drop into the Conference League group stage.
As a Priority 1 side in the play-off draw, Hearts will have seven possible options across Priority 3 and 4. Five of those will have started in the Champions League. The other two will come from the two ties involving Partizan Belgrade and Slovácko in the Europa League third qualifying round main path.
It will all become clearer once the Champions League second qualifying round has been completed with ties taking place July 19/20 and 26/27.
Ten teams will drop into the Europa League qualifiers and be paired off across five ties with the five winners progressing to the play-off round. Those winners will be deemed Priority 3.
Partizan and Slovácko will face the losers of the Champions League qualifiers between Midtjylland and AEK Larnaca, and Dynamo Kyiv against Fenerbahçe. The winners of those two ties will be Priority 4 and make up the seven teams Hearts could be drawn against.
As things stand, the 26 teams Hearts could face:
Ferencváros, Slovan Bratislava, Dinamo Zagreb, Shkupi, Qarabağ Match 3 Zürich, HJK, Viktoria Plzeň, Linfield, Bodø/Glimt, Žalgiris, Malmö FF, Ludogorets Razgrad, Shamrock Rovers, Maribor, Sheriff Tiraspol, Maccabi Haifa, Olympiacos, Pyunik, F91 Dudelange, Midtjylland, AEK Larnaca, Dynamo Kyiv, Fenerbahçe, Partizan Belgrade and Slovácko.
The play-off round draw will take place on August 1. However, that is before the third qualifying round has taken place so Hearts will be drawn with two teams who will play each other in the third round across August 4 and 11.
One Hearts fan has produced a handy guide for fellow supporters to keep track of possible opponents and nearby cities when it comes to organising flights and accomodation for the away leg.
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