Europa League second qualifying draw: Who could Vitória de Guimarães face?
The Europa League second qualifying draw takes place on Wednesday 19th June, determining who will be the first opponents of Guimaraes in their European campaign.
Guimaraes, commonly known as Vitoria SC, missed out on qualification to the Europa League last season after only finishing in 9th in the Primeira Liga, and will be looking to progress in a bid to replicate the success they had in the European competition in the 2017-18 season, where they reached the group stage.
That year, they failed to progress to the knockout rounds, finishing bottom of a group containing Red Bull Salzburg, Marseille and Konyaspor, though they did pick up 5 points along the way.
That season, though, they qualified directly for the group stage after their excellent performance in the league, where they finished 4th place overall - above Braga. To simply match those exploits this season, they’ll have to progress through 3 rounds of qualification first, starting in the second qualifying round.
Guimaraes will play in that second qualifying round over two legs, on the 25th July and the 1st August.
There are some strong sides present in the second qualifying round alongside Guimaraes, including Paulo Fonseca’s new club AS Roma, in addition to last season’s Europa League semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt.
Fortunately for Guimaraes, though, they are seeded for the draw, meaning that they avoid playing both Roma and Frankfurt, in addition to the likes of Partizan, Espanyol and Gent.
Another side that also enter the Europa League at this stage is Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are also seeded, and will therefore not be paired with Guimaraes in the draw next Wednesday.
Who could they face?
Both Nuno’s Wolves and Guimaraes will likely be drawn with a pair of teams, the winner of which will then advance to the Europa League second qualifying round.
While most of the potential opponents shouldn’t strike too much fear in either Guimaraes or Wolves, there are a few potentially tricky customers awaiting them in the second qualifying round.
For example, AEL Limassol is one side that both will be hoping to avoid, the Cypriot side winning the Cypriot Cup last campaign and performing well in the league.
Kilmarnock, who finished 3rd in the Scottish Premier League last season, could also prove stern opposition, while Slovenian outfit Olimpija Ljubljana, who reached the Europa League play-off last campaign and have just finished 2nd in their domestic league, could also be perceived as a challenging draw.
Zrinjski Mostar of Bosnia and Kairat of Kazakhstan are officially the two highest rated sides Guimaraes and Wolves can face in the second qualifying round, according to the UEFA Club Coefficient, followed by AEL Limassol and Albania’s Kukesi.
By contrast, the two easiest sides they can face (according to the club rankings) are Montenegro’s Budućnost Podgorica and Lithuania’s Riteriai.