Austria Wien have played three league games this season, won one, drew one, lost one. Scored six conceded eight. Stuffed 5-1 by Salzburg two weeks ago. They have only had to play one round of Champions League qualifiers so far, which they won 1-0 on aggregate against the Icelandic champions-cum-day-job-professionals. Send them over, please, Uefa.
Ludogorets Razgrad, from Bulgaria, knocked Dinamo Zagreb out of the Champions League qualifiers last season before going down to Slovan Bratislava in the play-off round. They’ve won two, lost one, of their three league games this season. Beat Partizan Belgrade home and away in last round, beat Slovan Bratislava on aggregate in round before that. They also have to play their home game for the next round at an alternate venue to due to a date clash with a concert. Happy to take this lot.
Legia Warsaw, won all three league games this season, scoring 12, conceding one. Eliminated Molde, after drawing both games, in last round, took care of The New Saints (Wales) home and away in earlier round. Would be a great European tie though not sure if Zbyszek can arrange the result for us.
Maribor, from Slovenia, have won all three league games this season, scored 11, conceded two. Eliminated APOEL Nicosia after two draws in last round. APOEL got to the last eight of the Champions League in 2012, so this team are no pushover. Maribor also have the distinction of being the last team to knock Rangers out of Europe. Ever!
Shakhtyor Karaganda, 12 points off the pace after 22 games in Kazakhstan. Beat Albanians, Korce, in last round and Bate Borisov (who recorded Champions League wins against Bayern Munich and Lille in 2012) in the earlier round. The travel would be an issue; Karaganda is farther east that eastern Afghanistan. If I can paraphrase an Ibrox legend, define Europe. The fact they are midseason and, like Celtic, they’ve won through two rounds already, makes this a less attractive tie, but they are surely not a Champions League team.
Preferences: Shakhtyor Karaganda are the easiest possible opponents but a trip to Austria or Bulgaria would be best.
Would rather avoid: Legia will be the most difficult draw. Maribor will be a similar challenge as Elfsborg.
Lots more to blog about: last night’s performance, Kelvin, Honest Dave King… maybe later.
[calameo code=0003901713852289beccb lang=en page=78 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]