Eight Possible Play-off Opponents for Aston Villa
Aston Villa now know they’ll be playing one of eight teams in the Europa Conference League play-off round, which takes place at 1pm UK-time today.
The draw is split into four groups, which according to UEFA are ‘based on the club rankings established at the beginning of the season and the principles set by the Club Competitions Committee.’ In short, they are created to keep teams from the same country apart and other teams with potential geopolitical issues apart too.
Aston Villa are in the Group Three of the draw.
1: SK Slavia Praha (CZE) / SC Dnipro-1 (UKR)
2: FC Santa Coloma (AND) / AZ Alkmaar (NED)
3: Olympiacos FC (GRE) / KRC Genk (BEL)
4: Aston Villa FC (ENG)
5: KKS Lech Poznań (POL) / FC Spartak Trnava (SVK)
6: FC Arouca (POR) / SK Brann (NOR)
7: Adana Demirspor (TUR) / NK Osijek (CRO)
8: Hibernian FC (SCO) / FC Luzern (SUI)
The first four 1-4 are the seeded teams, so there’s a chance that Villa’s John McGinn could be facing his former club Hibernian, who are one of the potential eights teams Villa could:
KKS Lech Poznań (POL)
FC Spartak Trnava (SVK)
FC Arouca (POR)
SK Brann (NOR)
Adana Demirspor (TUR)
NK Osijek (CRO)
Hibernian FC (SCO)
FC Luzern (SUI)
You’ll notice that Rapid Vienna isn’t in the list, a team that many Villa supporters felt Villa would be fated to play (maybe they’ll turn up in the group stages?).
Meanwhile in Group 4
Seeded in Group 4, Italian side Fiorentina potentially could line-up in the play-off draw against Spain’s entry Osasuna, a fixture which would certainly lightened the competition from an Aston Villa point of view, in terms of removing a potential threat to lift the trophy.
The key factors to consider of the draw are the fact that seeded teams are not guaranteed to play away in the first leg. The first ball to be drawn of pairings will be the home team.
The draw procedure for Groups 1 to 3, which Villa are in, according to UEFA is detailed below.
Play-off Draw Procedure
All the clubs in each of the three groups are randomly assigned a number: 1 to 4 for the seeded teams and 5 to 8 for the unseeded teams.
Three bowls are prepared for the draw, with the balls containing the numbers for the seeded and unseeded teams for Groups 1 to 3 placed in the correspondingly marked bowls.
One ball is taken from each of those bowls and placed in the third empty central bowl, where they are shuffled. The number shown from the first ball drawn from this bowl indicates the home teams of the first pairing of all three groups, and they will play against the teams indicated by the number of the ball drawn second from this bowl.
For example, if the first ball drawn contains the number 2 and the second the number 8, the clubs that have been assigned the numbers 2 and 8 in each of the three groups will play each other. The first ball drawn, here containing the number 2, designates the home team for the first leg in all three ties.
The same procedure is carried out with the remaining balls to complete the pairings of these three groups.