The matchups for the Champions League second qualifying round are set, and we’ve updated this post to reflect how the clubs have reached this point and how they’ve done recently in European competition.
The draw for the second qualifying round was held on 19 June, and the first legs kick off on 23 July. The second qualifying round will conclude the following week, closing out July before heading into the third qualifying round. The third qualifying round draw will be held on 22 July before the second qualifying round begins. Losers from this round will transfer to the “Champions Path” of Europa League, beginning in the third-qualifying round.
Four league champions are joining the tournament at this stage: APOEL (Cypress), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), and Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel). This will also be the first round featuring the “League Path” for clubs that did not win their respective league titles, with Basel (Switzerland), Olympiacos (Greece), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), and Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic) starting their Champions League journey.
Here’s a look at all the matchups this round:
Match 1: CFR Cluj v Maccabi Tel Aviv
CFR Cluj came back to defeat Astana during the first qualifying round, winning 3-1 in leg two to advance 3-2 on aggregate. The Romanian champions started in the second qualifying round of Champions League last season, only to lose to Malmö FF. During the 2012-13 Champions League, CFR Cluj reached the group stage. This will be their first match against a club from Israel.
Maccabi Tel Aviv won the Israeli Premier League for the first time since 2014-15, and therefore returns to Champions League for the first time since 2015-16. It reached the group stage that year, but finished a distant fourth while only scoring one goal. After reaching the Europa League group stage in each of the two years prior, Maccabi Tel Aviv failed to reach the group stage in the tournament last year, falling to Sarpsborg in the playoff round.
Match 2: BATE Borisov v Rosenborg
After a draw in leg one, BATE Borisov had to win on the road in Poland against Piast Gliwice to clinch their trip to the second qualifying round. They did so in last minute fashion, scoring twice in the last ten minutes to clinch the 2-1 victory in leg two (and 3-2 on aggregate). The champions of Belarus reached the playoff round of last season’s Champions League, before advancing to the Round of 32 in Europa League and losing to eventual finalist Arsenal.
Rosenborg had a much easier route to the second round, defeating Linfield 6-0 on aggregate during the first qualifying round. They lost in this round to Celtic last season, and then made it to the group stage in Europa League, where they again encountered Celtic (and Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig) and finished 4th without winning a match (0-1-5).
Match 3: The New Saints v Copenhagen
The New Saints gave up two late goals in their leg one match against Feronikeli, giving to Kosovo champions a leg up in their second match. Nevertheless, The New Saints managed to pull it out, winning 1-0 in leg two to advance 3-2 on aggregate.
Copenhagen returns to Champions League after a one season hiatus after reaching the group stage of Europa League last season. During its last trip to Champions League, it advanced as far as the playoff round before succumbing to Qarabağ. After moving to the group stage of Europa League that season, it finished second in its group, and lost to eventual champion Atlético Madrid in the Round of 32.
Match 4: Ferencváros v Valletta
Ferencváros held on to win against Ludogorets Razgrad in the first qualifying round, winning 5-3 on aggregate after winning both legs. This is the first time that Ferencváros has won a round in Champions League since 2004-05. That last time they played against a Maltese club in UEFA competition was a success, however, a 3-2 defeat of Sliema Wanderers in the 2014-15 Europa League.
Valletta drew twice in their first qualifying round matchup against F91 Dudelange, but scored in the match that mattered, netting two goals on the road during leg one in Luxembourg. The clubs tied 3-3 on aggregate, but Valletta advanced to the second round because of those two goals on the road.
After failing to score against Riga FC in the first qualifying round over two legs, Dundalk needed penalty kicks to advance to the second qualifying round. The Irish champs have only advanced past the second qualifying round once in their history, a trip to the playoff round in the 2016-17 tournament.
It was a slow start for Qarabağ in the first qualifying round against Partizani, with the Azeri club (or their opponent) failing to score for the first 140 minutes of action. Qarabağ finally came through in the 51st minute of leg two, and added another in added time to secure the 2-0 victory. They reached the third qualifying round last season, bowing out to BATE Borisov, and then reached the group stage in Europa League, finishing fourth. However, two seasons ago they were in the Champions League group stage, the first club from Azerbaijan to do so.
Saburtalo Tbilisi had a shocking Champions League debut, scoring three goals on the road in leg one against Sheriff Tiraspol. They gave that three goal advantage back in the first 12 minutes of leg two from Tbilisi, however, and needed to hold on after Ognjen Rolović scored in the 59th minute. They may have lost leg two 3-1, but they advanced 4-3 on aggregate. Their European debut season will last for at least four more matches.
Dinamo Zagreb is in Champions League for the second consecutive season – and thirteenth time in fourteen years – and will look to improve on last season’s playoff round appearance. It lost to Young Boys during that round, and while it found some success in Europa League after (reaching the Round of 16), they reached the group stage the last two seasons it competed in Champions League.
Match 7: Celtic v Nõmme Kalju
Celtic had little difficulty in their first qualifying round matchup against Sarajevo, advancing 5-2 and scoring the middle four goals after Sarajevo opened scoring in leg one. Last season, Celtic reached the third qualifying round in Champions League, losing to AEK Athens, then reached the Round of 32 in Europa League, losing to Valencia.
Nõmme Kalju managed to come from behind to defeat Shkëndija in the first qualifying round. After losing leg one 1-0 at home, they had to overcome Shkëndija’s one away goal advantage if they wanted to continue on in Champions League this season. They managed to pull even on aggregate with a goal in the fifth minute, and that score held until Agim Ibraimi scored a penalty for Shkëndija in the 61st minute. Would that result have held, Shkëndija would have advanced, but Kalju was able to find the winning goal shortly after the end of regulation, with Liliu coming through to win the match 2-1, and advance on away goals on aggregate (2-2).
Match 8: Red Star Belgrade v HJK
Red Star Belgrade had a surprising leg one result against Suduva in their first qualifying round matchup, ending the match in a scoreless draw. It narrowed the margin to advance a bit for the Serbian champions, but they came out strong in leg two, scoring twice in the first half, before holding on to win 2-1. Red Star advanced all the way to the group stage last season, so an early departure to Europa League would have been a surprise.
HJK, on the other hand, easily advanced after winning their leg one match against HB Torshavn 3-0. The Faroe Island champs got within a goal in leg two, but HJK scored the final two goals to draw the match and advance 5-2 on aggregate, reaching the second qualifying round for the second consecutive season.
Match 9: Sutjeska Nikšić v APOEL
Sutjeska Nikšić forced penalty kicks in their first qualifying round match against Slovan Bratislava, scoring the equalizing goal three minutes into added time, then holding on throughout extra time. This is the first time that Sutjeska Nikšić has won a round in European competition since they did so in the now defunct Intertoto Cup in 2003-04.
APOEL has won seven consecutive First Division titles in Cyprus, and has found middling success in Europe. It has advanced past the group stage only once in European competition, when it won its group during the 2011-12 Champions League. That season ended with a quarterfinal loss to Real Madrid and remains the best European performance for the club.
The last time Maribor played in Champions League (2017-18), the Slovenian champions reached the group stage, and this year’s European journey started with a dominant performance over Icelandic champion Valur. Maribor was never threatened in winning 5-0 on aggregate, including a 3-0 victory in Reykjavik during leg one. This will be Maribor’s first match ever against a club from Sweden.
AIK had to overcome a 2-1 defeat in leg one of the first qualifying round, scoring the first three goals in leg two and holding on to win 3-1, and advancing 4-3 on aggregate. This will be AIK’s first appearance in the second qualifying round since they entered the 2010-11 Champions League in that round, which was also their last time in the competition.
Match 1: Viktoria Plzeň v Olympiacos
Viktoria Plzeň is beginning its European season in Champions League for the fifth consecutive season. Last season, it started in the group stage as champions of the Czech Republic, and finished third in its group, earning a spot in the Europa League Round of 32, where it lost to Dinamo Zagreb after winning leg one. This will be its first match against a club from Greece in its European history.
Olympiacos tends to reach a group stage in Europe fairly often, something that it has done for the last eight seasons. Granted, some of those Champions League group stages was where the club started the competition as the champions of Greece, but the club has still found success. Last season was the first time since 2010-11 that Olympiacos did not start its European journey in Champions League, instead beginning in the third qualifying round of Europa League. It advanced through to the Round of 32, with its run ending in a loss to Dyanmo Kyiv.
Match 2: PSV Eindhoven v Basel
PSV began play in last season’s Champions League in the play-off round (a win against BATE Borisov), before finishing a distant fourth during the group stage. The club last advanced past the group stage in Europe during the 2015-16 Champions League, when lost on penalty kicks to Atlético Madrid in the Round of 16.
Basel was eliminated during this round last season, losing to PAOK in a similar position. It then went to Europa League and lost in the playoff round to Apollon Limassol on away goals. As recently as two seasons ago, the club advanced to the Round of 16 in Champions League, losing to Manchester City after finishing second to Manchester United during the group stage.
Until next time…
Last Update: 19 July 2019 at 8:30pm EST