The prospect of Midtjylland picking up tomorrow evening where Preston left off is enough to make this morning’s Champions League third qualifying round draw seem less of a priority. In the event we overcome the Danes, we will face the winners of the PSV Eindhoven – Galatasaray second round tie.
Galatasaray are a month away from the start of the Turkish league, having played only two friendly games since their season closed two months ago. They finished level on points with 2021 league winners, Beskitas, losing out by a single goal difference. PSV finished second in the Netherlands, well behind Ajax, and have played four friendlies this month in preparation for facing Galatasaray on Wednesday.
At first glance, Midtjylland are as ill-prepared for the new season as we are, having appointed a manager only a week before Ange Postecoglou arrived at Celtic, and losing their opening league game at home to OB, who finished ninth last term.
Not so PSV and Galatasaray. We have an extraordinary amount of work to do before meeting sides of that calibre with any confidence. Beating Midtjylland would guarantee Europa League group stage participation, at the very least, and feels like an achievable objective. Anything more is not to be included in budget forecasting.