Berlin – Finland or Kazakhstan. subordinate 1. FC Al Ittihad He recognizes the dangers of the newly created Conference League instantly in the playoffs. From a sporting point of view, the door to the group stage of the European Cup on iron is wide open after the play-off draw with Kuopio PS or FK Astana as potential contenders. But logistically, the qualifying round will be a huge challenge for the Bundesliga club.
Journey through four threatening time zones
The first stop will either go to the Finnish football district on August 19 or, more likely and more difficult, through four time zones and several thousand kilometers by plane to Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Kazakhstan or Finland. One thing is for sure – it will be an adventure,” goalkeeper Andreas Luth tweeted after Monday’s draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, adding a muscular gesture to his contribution.
Coach Urs Fischer, manager Oliver Rohnert and FA president Dirk Zengler did not comment publicly after the draw. It was said that one wanted to wait and see who the opponent would be in the end. Where the union trip will go between the first two matches of the Bundesliga season against Bayer Leverkusen (15 August) and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (22 August) will be decided in the duel between Kuopio and Astana in the third qualifying round on August 5 and 12 August. Astana, who reached the group stage of the Champions League in 2015, are the favorites.
The return match will be held at the Olympic Stadium
The return leg is scheduled for August 26 in Berlin. This match will take place at the Olympic Stadium, as the stadium in Alte Försterei does not meet UEFA requirements for spectators. Immediately after qualifying for the European Cup in May, Zingler spoke in favor of moving to the much larger arena in the west of the capital so that as many Etihad fans as possible could watch the match in the stadium.
Kuopio and Astana were among the lesser known lottery options. Feyenoord Rotterdam, KAA Gent or PAOK Saloniki were spared the Federation as potential enemies. Thanks to the betting system, it was already clear that Al Ittihad could only take on top teams such as AS Roma, Tottenham Hotspur or the former Fischer Club FC Basel in the group stage as soon as possible.
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