Friday, February 23, 2024

Champions League Season Has Truly Started With Heavyweights Paired In Playoffs

The 20 teams vying for the ten available places in the UEFA Champions League group stage have discovered who lies between them and a coveted spot in Europe’s elite club competition.Among the highlights are a meeting of two of Europe’s great entertainers, Napoli and Nice, while Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp returns to Germany to face Hoffenheim. Celtic, European champions in 1967, will have a 10,000km round-trip to take on Kazakhstan’s Astana – the side they edged past 3-2 on aggregate in the third qualifying round 12 months ago.Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side will start as favourites against Hoffenheim, but will be tested by a side who survived relegation under Julian Nagelsmann before pulling off a surprise top-four finish. The first legs, with Hoffenheim and Celtic at home, are on 15 or 16 August, with the return legs the following week. Liverpool face Crystal Palace between the two ties, and Arsenal on 27 August.
Full draw
Champions route:
Qarabag v FC Copenhagen
APOEL v Slavia Prague
Olympiacos v Rijeka
Celtic v Astana
Hapoel Beer Sheva v MariborLeague route:
Istanbul Basaksehir v Sevilla
Young Boys v CSKA Moscow
Napoli v Nice
Hoffenheim v Liverpool
Sporting Lisbon v Steaua BucharestPhoto Credit: Getty

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