On Tuesday, 12 June, Cefn Druids and Bala Town will both learn who they will face in the 2018/19 Europa League Preliminary Round when the draw will be made at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
Bala Town have qualified for Europe for the fifth time in their history and for the fourth consecutive year – while Cefn Druids are in Europe for the first time in six years and for only the second time in their history.
14 clubs will compete in the newly formed preliminary round to challenge for a place in the first qualifying round where they would join Connah’s Quay.
The clubs have been split into seeded and unseeded teams, with Bala in the seeded pot, while Cefn Druids are unseeded – teams from the same country cannot be drawn against each other in this round.
The first legs will be played on 28 June and the second legs a week later on 5 July.
Cefn Druids and Bala Town have both secured €220,000 for qualifying and could claim an extra €240,000 if they were to progress into the first qualifying round.
Birkirkara – Malta – CC: 2.750
Trakai – Lithuania – CC: 1.750
Europa – Gibraltar – CC: 1.500
B36 Tórshavn – Faroe Islands – CC: 1.500
Folgore – San Marino – CC: 1.250
Bala Town – Wales – CC: 1.000
Gżira United – Malta – CC: 0.900
Cefn Druids – Wales – CC: 0.775
Sant Julià – Andorra – CC: 0.750
KÍ Klaksvík – Faroe Islands – CC: 0.750
St Joseph’s – Gibraltar – CC: 0.600
Engordany – Andorra – CC: 0.266
Prishtina – Kosovo – CC: 0.250
Tre Fiori – San Marino – CC: 0.099
Cefn Druids face a trip to either Malta, Lithuania, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands and San Marino and here are their potential opponents:
BIRKIRKARA (4th – Maltese Premier League)
Birkirkara have secured their place in Europe as the cup winners (Valletta) had already qualified by winning the league.
They have played regularly in Europe since the late 90’s and recently beat Hearts of Midlothian to reach the 3rd qualifying round in 2016/17.
Birkirkara beat West Ham (1-0) in the home leg of the second qualifying round in 2015/16 but eventually lost on penalties in the tie.
TRAKAI (3rd – A Lyga Lithuania)
Trakai have reached Europe for the fourth consecutive season, and they boast an impressive European record (played 12 – won 7).
They reached the 3rd qualifying round in last season’s Europa League having knocked out St Johnstone and IFK Norrkoping, before losing out to Shkendija.
EUROPA (2nd – Gibraltar Premier Division)
Europa have qualified for the fifth consecutive season, but have lost eight of their 10 European fixtures to date.
Europa faced The New Saints in last year’s Champions League qualifiers, and although Europa won away at Park Hall they eventually lost out to the Welsh champions over two legs.
B36 TORSHAVN (3rd – Faroe Islands Premier League)
B36 have vast experience of European football, but their record isn’t the best as they have only won three of their 40 matches in Europe.
Like Europa, B36 Torshavn have gone head to head with The New Saints in recent years, losing 2-6 on aggregate in 2015 to the Oswestry side.
FOLGORE (2nd – Sanmarinese Football Championship)
Folgore have qualified for the fifth consecutive season, but have never won an European round.
The San Marino side lost 3-0 on aggregate to Valletta last season.
GŻIRA UNITED (3rd – Maltese Premier League)
Gżira have made it to Europe for the first time since 1973, and for only the second time in their history.
Losing 9-0 on aggregate against SK Brann is their only previous experience of European football.
Bala Town on the other hand will travel to either Andorra, Gibraltar, the Faroe Islands, San Marino or Kosovo, and here is a list of their possible opponents:
SANT JULIA (3rd – Andorra Premier League)
Sant Julia have competed in 14 European rounds and have only won once – against Tre Fiori on penalties in 2009.
In their 12 games after their only European win, Sant Julia have failed to score a single goal.
KI KLAKSVIK (2nd – Faroe Islands Premier League)
KI have secured European football for the ninth time in their history, but the club are yet to record an European round win.
The Faroe Island side recorded their only European win against Maccabi Haifa in 1995, but lost the second leg.
KI Klaksvik lost 5-0 against AIK over two legs last season – the club who sent Bala Town out of the Europa League the previous year.
ST JOSEPH’S (3rd – Gibraltar Premier League)
St Joseph’s will compete in Europe for the second time in their history after finishing the season in third place in the Gibraltar Premier League.
The club fell to a heavy defeat against AEL Limassol last season (losing 10-0 over two legs) in their first European tie.
ENGORDANY (2nd – Andorra Premier League)
The Andorra side have secured European football for the first time in their history, and their lack of experience could be of advantage to Bala Town if they are to be drawn together.
Engordany’s squad is full of players from all over the world – Spain, Argentina, Portugal, France, Uruguay, Peru, Tunisia, Serbia, Andorra… but no one from Wales!
PRISHTINA (2nd – Football Superleague of Kosovo)
Prishtina will compete in Europe for the second time in their history following their 6-0 aggregate defeat against Norrkoping last season.
The Kosovo side are a professional club and having won their league on several occasions they could prove to be a tough challenge for Colin Caton’s side.
TRE FIORI (3rd – Sanmarinese Football Championship)
Tre Fiori are the lowest ranked club to have qualified for Europe this season and Bala would be clear favourites if they were to be drawn against the Sanmarinese side.
They do however have previous experience in Europe but have failed to win any of their six qualifying fixtures to date.
On this day in 1961 one of the legends of Welsh football - Ian Rush - was born.