The possible opponents for the four clubs representing Malta in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are now known as the last competitions in the various countries around Europe came to an end during the weekend.
Malta will be represented by Valletta in the UEFA Champions League and by Balzan, Gzira United and Birkirkara in the UEFA Europa League.
Following the change in regulations of the UEFA Champions League, the bottom four teams will now take part in a Preliminary Round which will be played in the form of a mini-tournament with two semi-finals and a final. The four teams are FC Santa Coloma of Andorra, Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar, La Fiorita of San Marino and FC Drita of Kosovo. The winner will join thirty-one teams in the First Qualifying Round, including Valletta.
The seeded teams, and hence possible opponents for Valletta, are:
Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria), Celtic (Scotland), APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus), Legia Warsaw (Poland), FK Astana (Kazakhstan), Garabag Agdam (Azerbaijan), Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova), Malmö FF (Sweden), Red Star Belgrade (Serbia), Hapoel Beer-Sheva (Israel), Rosenborg BK (Norway), HJK Helsinki (Finland), The New Saints (Wales), Videoton Fehérvár (Hungary), FK Kukësi (Albania) and Zrinjski Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina).
The unseeded teams are: Shkendija Tetovo (Macedonia), Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia), F91 Dudelange (Luxembourg), Spartak Trnava (Slovakia), Valletta, Víkingur (Faroe Islands), Crusaders Belfast (Northern Ireland), Alashkert FC (Armenia), Sutjeska Niksic (Montenegro), Suduva Marijampole (Lithuania), Cork City (Ireland), Spartaks Jurmala (Latvia), Valur Reykjavik (Iceland), Flora Tallinn (Estonia) and Torpedo Kutaisi (Georgia).
The winners would qualify for the Second Qualifying Round while the losers enter the Second Qualifying Round of the UEFA Europa League. Therefore Valletta are guaranteed of playing at least in two rounds.
Meanwhile in the UEFA Europa League, Birkirkara and Gzira United enter the Preliminary Round while Balzan enter the competition in the First Qualifying Round.
Fourteen teams are seeded in the Preliminary Round including Birkirkara, who are the top seeds, and Gzira. The other seeded teams are FK Trakai (Lithuania), Europa FC (Gibraltar), B36 Torshavn (Faroe Islands), Folgore (San Marino) and Bala Town (Wales).
The unseeded teams, and hence possible opponents for Birkirkara and Gzira, are Cefn Druids (Wales), Sant Julià (Andorra), KI Klaksvik (Faroe Islands), St Joseph’s FC (Gibraltar), UE Engordany (Andorra), FC Prishtina (Kosovo) and Tre Fiori (San Marino).
There will be ninety four teams in the First Qualifying Round and Balzan are one of the unseeded teams. Should they qualify, both Birkirkara and Gzira United will be unseeded as well. The draw for the 1st qualifying round is made before the results of the preliminary round are known. Clubs of the preliminary round are seeded by the highest ranking of the clubs involved.
The seeded teas and hence possible opponents for the Maltese are:
FC København and FC Nordsjælland (Denmark), NK Maribor, NK Domzale and Rudar Velenje (Slovenia), Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem (Israel), Partizan Belgrade, Radnicki Nis and Spartak Subotica (Serbia), Molde FK and Sarpsborg 08 (Norway), Apollon Limassol and Anorthosis Famagusta (Cyprus), Dinamo Minsk and Shakhtior Saligorsk (Belarus), Lech Poznan and Gornik Zabrze (Poland), FH Hafnarfjardar (Iceland), Dundalk (Ireland), Zalgiris Vilnius (Lithuania), Gabala FK, Neftchi Baku and Kesla FK (Azerbaijan), NK Osijek (Croatia), Vardar Skopje and Rabotnicki Skopje (Macedonia), AS Trencín and Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia), Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia), Viitorul Constanta (Romania), Kalju Nomme (Estonia), AIK Stockholm and BK Häcken (Sweden), Slavia Sofia, CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia (Bulgaria), FK Ventspils (Latvia), Glasgow Rangers and Hibernian (Scotland), Tobol Kustanai, Irtysh Pavlodar and Kairat Almaty (Kazakhstan), CS Fola Esch (Luxembourg), FK Sarajevo and Zeljeznicar Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Mladost Podgorica (Montenegro)
In the qualifying rounds the teams are divided into groups with the same number of seeded and unseeded teams. A few hours before the draw a computer system is used to prepare the groups such that teams of the same association are not in the same group and and that all groups are about equal strength (in terms of ranking).