Piast Gliwice booked their place in next season’s Champions League qualifying by winning a shock Polish Ekstraklasa title at the weekend. The Poles saw off Lech Poznan on the final day to take the title ahead of Legia Warsaw who were going for four-in-a-row
Piast’s victory, and lowly international status, means they could be in line to face Celtic in the very first round of next season’s European qualifiers.
Celtic may be spared a Polish trip by UEFA. European football’s governing body often chooses to regionalise the first round of Champions League qualification. This has seen Celtic face sides from Northern Ireland and Iceland on multiple occasions in recent years.
However that isn’t always reliable. Last year seemed to mark a change in the way UEFA conducted things with Celtic sent to Armenia to play their first tie against FC Alashkert.
With Iceland and Northern Ireland both potential locations next season, Celtic will be hoping that regional sections are back in place. Otherwise we could have a nightmare start under a new manager.
A real tough ask
Qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League seems to be getting harder and harder with every passing year. When Celtic first qualified from the ‘Champions route’ we played the champions of Sweden in the final round. This coming season we could face current Swedish champions AIK Stockholm in our opener.
After that, the Hoops will still have to play three qualifying ties over six weeks. With a new manager coming in and player turnover expected, it’s looking like a tough ask this time around. The Europa League might just be a more likely destination.