The first act of the 2019/20 season takes place tomorrow afternoon, as Cardiff Met and Barry Town United find out who they'll be facing in the UEFA Europa League Preliminary Round draw (12:00).
Both sides are unseeded for the draw based on UEFA's coefficient ranking, and could face trips to six different European countries.
San Marino’s La Fiorita are the highest ranked side in the seeded pot, despite the fact they haven’t won any of their fifteen European matches to date.
On paper that makes the Sammarinese side one that both Barry and Met might hope to draw, but both will of course be wary of underestimating them given Bala’s 3-1 aggregate defeat to Tre Fiori as this stage last season.
Luxembourg’s Progres Niederkorn famously knocked Rangers out of the competition in 2017/18, and progressed to the Third Qualifying Round last time out.
Northern Ireland's Cliftonville met The New Saints in the 2011/12 Europa League, Saints winning 2-1 on aggregate in their QR1 tie. Like Met, they qualified through a Playoff system, finishing fifth in the NIFL before winning the Playoffs.
Europa were the first team from Gibraltar to play in the Europa League back in 2014, and have qualified for UEFA competition every season since. They have played Welsh opposition once before, losing to TNS in the Champions League QR1 in 2017/18, but lost heavily in last season’s Europa League Preliminary Round to another potential opponent of Barry and Met: Prishtina.
Kosovan sides have only been admitted into UEFA competitions since 2017/18, however Prishtina would likely be one of the tougher tests, given that both Kosovan sides last year got through their respective Preliminary Round ties.
The remaining two seeded sides are both from the Faroe Islands. NSÍ Runavík haven’t won a European tie in twelve attempts previously, losing 12-5 on aggregate to Hibernian last season in QR1.
KÍ Klaksvík won their first tie at this stage last season but certainly both could be considered a kinder draw than some of the other possibilities available. The caveat to that is that both are currently in the middle of their season, so would have an edge in terms of match sharpness.
The draw will be made at 12:00 tomorrow afternoon, with ties being played on 27th June and 4th July.
Barry and Met have in the past week confirmed that their home legs will be played at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium, meaning that there may need to be a reversal of ties should both be drawn at home or away.
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