Friday 19th July is when Swansea City will find out their opponents in the Europa League. Sort of! The draw is being done the day after the 1st leg of the 2nd Round, The Swans start in Round 3 (Thanks Wigan!).
It is quite a complicated process, but as Swansea City are representing England, who based on UEFA’s equally complicated co-efficiency rankings are 2nd out of the 53 UEFA Nations. (Spain are 1st and Wales are 48th). Meaning Swansea are seeded for the 3rd Round, the games are being played on 1st and 8th August.
Below are the list of unseeded teams the Swans could face.
Albania – Kukesi
Armenia – Pyunik
Azerbaijan – Inter Baku, Qarabag
Belarus – Dinamo Minsk, Minsk, Shakhtar Soligorsk
Bosnia-Herzegovina – Sarajevo, Siroki Brijeg, Zrinjski
Bulgaria – Botev Plovdiv
Croatia – Lokomotiv Zagreb, Rijeka
Czech Republic – Jablonec, Slovan Liberic
Denmark – Randers
Estonia – Levadia Tallinn
Faroe Islands – Vikingur
Georgia – Chikhara Sackhere
Greece – Asteras Tripolis, Skoda Xanthi
Hungary – Honved Budapest
Israel – Hapoel Ramat-Gan
Kazakhstan – Aktobe, Irtysh Pavlodar
Lativa – Skonto Riga, Ventspils
Lithuania – Zalgiris Vilnius
Luxembourg – Jeunesse Esch
Malta – Valletta
Moldova – Milasmi Olhei
Montenegro – Mladost Podgorica, Rudar Pljevljar
Northern Ireland – Linfield
Norway – Hodd, Tromso
Poland – Piast Gliwice, Slask Wroclaw
Romania – Pandurii Targu Jiu, Petrolul Ploiesti
Scotland – Motherwell, Hibernian
Serbia – Red Star Belgrade, Vojvodina
Slovakia – Senica, Trencin
Sweden – Goteborg, Malmo
Switzerland – Thun
Turkey – Kasimpasa
Wales – Prestatyn
Not many well known teams in there and not much time to plan. Should Swans get drawn against one of the Azerbaijani, Belarussian or Kazakhstani teams a VISA is required. So fingers crossed we won’t or it could be a nightmare (as well as a costly one) to sort things out for the away game, in the limited time fans would have.
Irtysh Pavlodar from Kazakhstan are the furthest team, geographically, away from Swansea. Closer to Mongolia and China than most other countries in Europe! What a nightmare trip that would be to plan.
Out of interest it would cost around £800 for a flight to Kazakhstan (not including the Visa cost) from Heathrow and would take 22 hours there and back. As well as the 4 and a half hour journey to the game…….. I’m dedicated to the Swans but this would test anyone’s commitment.
Looking at the locations of the teams, we may get lucky and be able to go from Bristol Airport. Though some flights from there are with the unfriendly Airline Ryanair.
It would be logistically easier to get to Thun (Swi), Jablonec, Slovan Liberic (Cze), Piast Gliwice, Slask Wroclaw (Pol), Hibernian & Motherwell with EasyJet
You could get to Honved Budapest (Hun), Zalgiris Vilnius (Lit), Valletta (Mal), Piast Gliwice, Slask Wroclaw (Pol), Senica & Trencin (Slovakia) with Ryanair (I’d have to go against my principles then possibly)
I’m guessing it’s possible to go to Northern Ireland from Cardiff & Bristol Aiports, otherwise Heathrow & Gatwick it is! Or Prestatyn by car!
All will become clearer on Friday, I for one can’t wait. My personal preferences would be Valetta or Tallinn, as I’d love to visit both Estonia and Malta. Would be fitting if we did get the Danish team, Randers, though with Laudrup being our manager.
Facing Prestatyn (who had a great win away in Latvia last week) would be interesting from a Welsh point of view, but I personally would be underwhelmed with drawing them – just because I could go to watch them anytime.
The fixtures for the Europa League 2nd Round is here: http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000466/index.html
We’re all going on a European Tour. The road to Turin will begin soon!