Braga, Guimaraes and Wolves find out their Europa League opponents
The draw for the Europa League Third Qualifying round has taken place, as Braga, Guimaraes and Wolves find out who their opponents are.
Braga have always been guaranteed to enter the third qualifying round, this the point at which the Minho club enter the European competition thanks to their 4th place finish in the Primeira Liga last campaign.
Both Wolves and Guimaraes, though, first have to make it through their second qualifying round ties to join Braga at the next stage of the competition.
Guimaraes will be facing unseeded Luxembourg outfit Jeunesse Esch after they earned a shock victory over Kazakhstan side Tobol, while Wolves will face Northern Ireland’s Crusaders.
Should Guimaraes make it past their Luxembourg counterparts, they will face Ventspils or Gzira United.
Before the draw, we suggested that this would comfortably be the best possible draw for Guimaraes, and they will be quietly pleased with how this has panned out.
It means that they avoid having to face either Fehervar (Videoton) or Malatyaspor, who would have surely proved much sterner competition.
Meanwhile Wolves, assuming they make it past Crusaders, will play against Pyunik or Jablonec in a bid to make the play-off round.
Before the draw took place, we also suggested that this would be the best possible draw for Wolverhampton Wanderers, and it means they avoid having to face Scottish side Rangers or Ukrainian’s Mariupol.
Braga knew that they would fact one of FC Thun (Switzerland) Lechia Gdansk (Poland)/Brondby (Denmark), Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic)/Ordabasy Shymkent (Kazakhstan), Aris Thessaloniki (Greece)/AEL Limassol (Cyprus), or Lokomotiv Plovdiv (Bulgaria)/Spartak Trnava (Slovakia). Ultimately, they were then drawn against Lechia Gdansk or Brondby.
The draw provides the quality Braga were always anticipating, with each of their five possible opponents quite similar in terms of ability. They will be pleased to have avoided Spartak Trnava who made the Europa League group stage last season, while Aris or AEL Limassol would also have probably be deemed harder than both Gdansk and Brondby.
Nevertheless, they are two sides that are better than the teams drawn by Wolves and Guimaraes, and will have to avoid complacency in this clash.