After Dinamo found out who they will play in the first and second qualifying rounds of the Champions League (Valur, Omonia), Croatia’s remaining three best-placed representatives participated in the draw for the new UEFA competition – the Conference League, reports Jutarnji List. Croatia does not have a single representative in the Europa League this season, but that is why it has three clubs in the Conference League – Osijek, Rijeka, and Hajduk.
Croatian runner-up Osijek will play against Polish club Pogon Szczecin, where former Hajduk goalkeeper Dante Stipic currently plays. The first match is on July 22 at the Florian Krygier Municipal Stadium, and they return seven days later in Osijek.
Hajduk will play against Kazakhstani club Tobol. The first match will be played on July 22 at Poljud, and the return match is scheduled for July 29 in Kostanaj.
In the second qualifying round of the Conference League, Rijeka will play against the winner of the match between Santa Julia from Andorra and the Maltese club Gzira, which the Croatian football public knows very well for sensationally expelling Hajduk from the Europa League two years ago. The first match is scheduled for July 22 when Rijeka will play away, and the return is scheduled for seven days later.
In case Croatian champion Dinamo suffers a defeat against Valur at the start of the Champions League qualifiers and moves to the Conference League, they would play in the 2nd qualifying round against the loser of the match between Norwegian Bodo/Glimt and the Polish club Legia.
Rijeka was in group 4 with Viktoria Plzen, CSKA Sofia, and the better between Domžale (Slovenia) – Swift Hesper (Luxembourg), Glentoran (Northern Ireland) – The New Saints (Wales).
Rijeka’s possible rivals were thus the winners between Sant Julià (Andorra) – Gzira United (Malta), Honka Espoo (Finland) – NSÍ Runavík (Faroe Islands), Struga (Macedonia) / Liepāja (Latvia), Europa FC (Gibraltar) – Kauno Žalgiris (Lithuania) and Dynamo Brest (Belarus).
Osijek was in Group 7 with Austria Vienna, Ljubljana’s Olimpija, Basel, and Feyenoord. Osijek could thus draw the winners of Dečić (Montenegro) – Drita (Kosovo), Racing FC Union Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourg) – Breidablik (Iceland), La Fiorita San Marino) – Birkirkara (Malta), Sfintul Gheorghe (Moldova) – Partizani (Albania), and the most dangerous of all the above clubs Pogoń Szczecin (Poland).
Hajduk was in Group 9 with Vojvodina, Aberdeen, Copenhagen, and Rosenborg, and unlike Rijeka and Osijek, the Split club could already find out who they will play as four teams are known in their group. Hajduk could have thus faced the winner between FH Hafnarfjördur (Iceland) / Sligo Rovers (Ireland), or Tobol Kostanay (Kazakhstan), BK Häcken (Sweden), Torpedo-Belaz Zhodino (Belarus), Panevezys (Lithuania).
To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.
To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.