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Valletta To Face Dudelange In Champions League Qualifier As Trio Of Maltese Clubs Head To Eastern Europe

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Valletta F.C. has scored a surprise stroke of luck in their UEFA Champions League draw after being paired with Luxembourg champions F91 Dudelange in the first round of qualifiers.

The Maltese champions have been handed an easier route to the second round after avoiding significantly tougher opponents like Scottish champions Celtic and Qarabag of Azerbaijan.

Dudelange may not look so easy on paper, however, the Luxembourgish champions made it all the way to the Europa League group stages last season where they faced Serie A giants Milan, Olympiakos, of Greece, and La Liga side Real Betis.

The first leg will take place in Luxembourg on either the 9 or 10 July, with Valletta hosting their opponents a week later

Last year, Hibernians made it to the second round of qualifying, knocking out F.C Tallinn before falling to Austrian powerhouse Red Bull Salzberg.

Meanwhile, the Europa League presents an opportunity for some form of success for local football with three different teams taking part in the qualifiers.

Balzan, Hibernians, and Gzira United will all be travelling to Eastern Europe for their qualifiers. Hibs will be heading to Belarus to face Shakhtyor Soligorsk, Gzira will go to Croatia to play Hadjuk Split, and F.A. Trophy Winners Balzan were drawn against NK Domzale of Slovenia.

Maltese teams have made positive strides in the completion in recent years after Birkirkara claimed a massive scalp by knocking out Scottish club Hearts in 2016, and only losing to Premier League mainstays West Ham on penalties in 2015.

In 2018, Valletta made it through to the second round, only to lose to the Netherland’s Utrecht.

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