Valletta take on F91 Dudelange

Valletta will be facing F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg in the first leg of the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League at the Stade Josy Barthel in Luxembourg on Tuesday, kick-off at 20:00.

The winners from this stage would face Ferencváros or Ludogorets while the losers move on to the UEFA Europa League where they would face either Nõmme Kalju of Estonia or Shkëndija of North Macedonia.

It will be no easy match for the Citizens considering that F91 Dudelange became the first club from Luxembourg to reach the group stage of the UEFA Europa League last season.

This summer, Valletta made only minimal changes to their squad, signing Kevin Tulimieri and Douglas Packer. On the other hand, Raed Ibrahim Saleh and Miguel Angel Alba moved elsewhere. Darren Abdilla has been appointed as their new coach, taking over from Gilbert Agius who led the team in the final six weeks of last season after replacing Danilo Doncic.

F91 Dudelange is a professional football club based in Dudelange, Luxembourg and plays in the Luxembourg National Division. It was formed in 1991 as a merger between three teams in the city: Alliance Dudelange, Stade Dudelange and US Dudelange. Domestically, it has won the Luxembourg National Division 15 times and the Luxembourg Cup eight times.

They won the championship last season after finishing nine points clear of Fola Esch and went on to win the Cup after defeating Etzella Ettelbrück 5-0

Since their first participation in UEFA club competitions, they reached a further round on three occasions apart the fine run in the UEFA Europa League last season. In 2005/06, they eliminated Zrinjski Mostar from the UEFA Champions League; in 2011/12, they eliminated FC Santa Coloma of Andorra in the UEFA Champions League; in 2012/13, they managed to eliminate Tre Penne of San Marino and Red Bull Salzburg from the UEFA Champions League. Last year, they were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League by MOL Vidi of Hungary with a 2-3 aggregate score but in the UEFA Europa League, they defeated Drita of Kosovo 3-2, Legia Warsaw of Poland 4-3 and CFR Cluj of Romania to make it to the group stage where they finished fourth behind Real Betis, Olympiakos and AC Milan.

Last season, Valletta were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round by Kukësi on the away goals rule while in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, they lost 2-3 on aggregate to Zrinjski Mostar of Bosnia Herzegovina.

In all, Valletta qualified for a second round of a UEFA competition on seven occasions, eliminating Barry Town of Wales in 1999, Keflavik of Iceland in 2009, Tre Fiori of San Marino in 2011, FC Lusitans of Andorra in 2012, La Fiorita of San Marino in 2013, B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands in 2016 and SS Folgore of San Marino in 2017.

This will only be the second time teams from Malta and Luxembourg were drawn together. In the 1968/69 Cup Winners Cup, Sliema Wanderers eliminated Rumelange on the away goals rule.

The second leg will be played at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday 16, kick-off at 20:00.