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Looking Ahead to the UEFA Cup


JohnCresswell
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By leviramsey

Looking ahead to the UEFA Cup

So Villa are in the Intertoto Cup, having to play either Lisburn, a Finnish, or a Danish club for a spot in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.

Writing this article is surely tempting the Football Gods, who have occasionally been known to smite mere mortals who look beyond the next match on the assumption that they'll win anyway (though it would appear that, as with much else in football, making an offering of freshly scrubbed and laundered money in a brown envelope on their altar inclines them to decide against smiting anyone that day). However, as I lack the necessary laundering apparatus I must appeal to these Deities of the Dribble that no insult is meant to any other clubs; this article is merely an advisory to Villa fans that might be inclined to watch results all over Northern Europe.

To simplify matters, I've elected to make a few assumptions:

* The top seeds, that is to say Villa, Hibernian, and NAC Breda, in the relevant Intertoto groups advance

* The clubs in the seeded half of the first qualifying round advance

In cases where one of these assumptions fails to hold, then it is quite possible that a club that I list as unseeded would become seeded. Since it's an absolute certainty that we will be seeded in this round (if we qualify), then this would mean that a substitution on this list of possibilities would become necessary.

The clubs that will get to face the "mighty Villa" (to quote from a translation of an interview with Odense's manager) could be:

From Norway: Stabaek (being American, my keyboard lacks those ligatures and "funny looking" characters that seem to become more common the further north one gets... I apologize in advance for any offense or comedy arising from this deficiency)

From Denmark: Nordsjælland or Midtjylland

From Sweden: Djurgardens or Kalmar

From Finland: FC Haka or FC Honka

From Iceland: FH

From Latvia: Metalurgs Liepaja or Olimps Riga

From Lithuania: Suduva Marijampole

Fun fact: MON has a fairly good record against one of those listed clubs... answers on a postcard.

Looking even further ahead, if we are successful after our games with a likely Baltic opponent, it is currently unclear whether we will be seeded for the first round of the UEFA Cup. It looks likely, at first glance, that we will; as of this writing it looks like the bottom nine seeded spots are available; of the clubs on the bubble, we have the sixth best coefficient (level with Portsmouth, however their winning the FA Cup gives them higher priority than our entry via the Intertoto).

If at least 4 clubs with a greater coefficient than us, however, lose in the third qualifying round of the Champions League, then we would become unseeded and could draw AC Milan, Sevilla, Valencia, Benfica, CSKA Moscow, Hamburg, or Ajax instead of Lillestrom, Metalist Kharkiv, Queen of the South, or Motherwell (to name the most extreme examples).

The clubs in Champions League qualifying with coefficients greater than our 24.996 are (a * denotes that they play in the second qualifying round... if they are eliminated at that stage, they have no effect on us)

Rangers *

Panathinaikos *

Basel *

Fenerbahce *

Anderlecht *

Sparta Prague *

Dinamo Kiev *

Partizan *

Liverpool

Barcelona

Arsenal

Schalke

Juventus

Marseille

Steaua Bucharest

Olympiakos

Shakhtar Donetsk

Fiorentina

Spartak Moscow

Atletico Madrid

Slavia Prague

Galatasaray

If any clubs listed get beaten in the second qualifying round, that's good news for us. 16 clubs will lose in the third qualifying round, and 14 of them enter in that round. So if at least 6 clubs listed advance from the 2nd qualifying round (i.e. if at least 6 clubs with asterisks are in the third qualifying round), we are mathematically eliminated from being seeded. Watching results in the 2nd qualifying round is definitely called for: we'll need at least three unseeded clubs in that round to win.

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Simple as that eh ? :) I hope we get FC Honka purely for the comedy value of their name :)

All joking aside. Being unseeded in the 1st round proper (if and when we get that far) would make a massive difference to our prospects of reaching the group stages. It is also worth mentioning that we would not be able to get any of Villa's English counterparts in the first round proper - and as they would all likely be seeds, this further reduces our chances (as non-seeds) of avoiding the likes of AC Milan. Gulp. But let's get past Odense/Turku/Distillery first :)

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All joking aside. Being unseeded in the 1st round proper (if and when we get that far) would make a massive difference to our prospects of reaching the group stages. It is also worth mentioning that we would not be able to get any of Villa's English counterparts in the first round proper - and as they would all likely be seeds, this further reduces our chances (as non-seeds) of avoiding the likes of AC Milan. Gulp. But let's get past Odense/Turku/Distillery first :)

I believe the draw for the first round is protected by country, so even if we're not seeded we'd not face Spurs/Everton/Pompey/Man City.

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That's my point. So many English teams being seeded and us not being + country protection means a greater chance of getting AC Milan.

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That's my point. So many English teams being seeded and us not being + country protection means a greater chance of getting AC Milan.

I'd rather have Milan ta

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That's my point. So many English teams being seeded and us not being + country protection means a greater chance of getting AC Milan.

Yeah, I missed the "not" in your post... I mean, it's only three letters, it can't be that important! :D

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anyone else hate the seeding in all these they are trying to guarntee the status quo

The people who complain about seeding are probably the same people who complain about too many no-namers getting to the latter stages. Seeding is a reward for success, and it guarantees better more desireable match-ups in the latter stages, which is what the fans want to see.

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