Arsenal will find out tomorrow morning who they will face in the third qualifying rounds of the Champions League in a couple of weeks time.
The Gunners are scheduled to play the qualifying round on 12/13 August and 26/27 August before the lucrative group stages for the competition are drawn on August 28th.
There are 18 clubs, including Arsenal that finished high enough in their leagues to merit entry into the third round. These include: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, Fiorentina, Olympique Marseille, FC Schalke, Vitoria, Steaua Bucharest, FC Twente, Spartak Moscow, Shakhtar Donetsk, Standard Liege, Slavia Prague, Galatasaray, Oympiakos and Levski Sofia.
Fortunately the Gunners are seeded in the competition, so we'll definitely involve the likes of Barcelona, FC Schalke and Juventus, as well as Liverpool. That still leaves Atletico Madrid, Marseille, Galatasaray, Olympiakos and Fiorentina in the fold as tough opposition for third round qualifiers.
Then there are the participants of 14 second round qualifying ties being played this week and next, meaning that there are a further 28 possible alternatives for the Gunners when the draw is made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon tomorrow.
The biggest names currently involved in the second round matches are Fenerbahce, Glasgow Rangers and Gilberto’s new club Panathinaikos.
However, other potential opposition includes Dynamo Kiev, Partizan Belgrade, Anderlecht, Rapid Vienna, Dinamo Zagreb, Sparta Prague and IFK Goteborg.
I don’t think I can stress enough how important it is to Arsenal that the club qualifies for the group stage of the Champions League, and the prospect of meeting some of the bigger clubs in the qualifying round always turns me into a quivering wreck of a pessimist, fearing for the equivalent of the proverbial footballing banana skin.
The full list of teams fighting for a place in the third qualifying round are:
Drogheda Utd, Dynamo Kiev, Inter Baku, Partizan Belgrade, SK Brann, FK Ventspils, AaB, Modrica, Anderlecht, BATE, Anorthosis Famagusta, Rapid Vienna, Beitar Jerusalem, Wisla Krakow, Domzale, Dinamo Zagreb, FC Sheriff, Sparta Prague, Fenerbahce, MTK Budapest, IFK Goteborg, Basle, Panathinaikos, Dinamo Tbilisi, Rangers, FBK Kaunas, Tampere United and Artmedia Petrzalka.
So is there any team in particular you’d like to see Arsenal avoid? Or are you confident that Arsene Wenger’s squad can handle whatever UEFA throw at the Gunners? Share your thoughts on Arsenal’s qualification for the Champions League here.