Manchester United must get past Club Brugge to reach the group stages of the Champions League.
United drew the Belgian side in the play-off round, with the first leg taking place at Old Trafford on August 18 or 19. The second leg will be played on August 25 or 26.
Club Brugge finished second in Belgium’s top flight last season and will be looking to reach the group stage for the first time since 2005-06. They defeated Panathinaikos 4-2 in the third qualifying round but on paper would appear to be a preferable draw to Lazio, Monaco or CSKA Moscow, who Louis van Gaal’s side could also have faced.
United have never played Club Brugge but they have a history of meeting Belgian opposition in Europe, including a record 10-0 victory over Anderlecht in the 1956-57 European Cup.
Celtic will feel contented, too, that they have avoided potential trips to Kazakhstan or Albania, instead facing a relatively straightforward journey to Sweden. But last year’s group stage contenders Malmo, who overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit to beat Red Bull Salzburg 3-2 on aggregate in the third qualifying round, will prove a difficult hurdle for Ronny Deila’s side.
But Malmo, European Cup finalists in 1979, have plenty of pedigree and have won the Swedish title in the last two seasons.
The winners of the Champions League and Europa League play-off rounds will progress to the group stages of their respective competitions.
Champions League play-off round draw
|Astana(Kazakhstan) v APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)||Lazio (Italy) v Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)|
|Skenderbeu (Albania) v Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)||Manchester United (England) v Club Brugge (Belgium)|
|Celtic (Scotland) v Malmo (Sweden)||Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) v CSKA Moscow (Russia)|
|Basel (Switzerland) v Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)||Rapid Vienna (Austria) v Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)|
|BATE Borisov (Belarus) v Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)||Valencia (Spain) v Monaco (France)|