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Who can Arsenal meet? All you need to know ahead of Friday's Champions League playoff draw

Who can Arsenal meet? All you need to know ahead of Friday's Champions League playoff draw

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The European flagship competition reaches the draw for its final qualification round on Friday, with some of the continent's big names involved.

Arsenal, Napoli and Athletic Bilbao are among the big names for which the 2014-15 Champions League season is about to begin, with Friday’s playoff draw determining who will stand between them and the group stage.

The playoff round sees the highest non-direct qualifiers from some of Europe’s major leagues enter the competition, with Arsene Wenger’s side the biggest club involved after finishing in fourth place in last season’s English Premier League.

The Gunners could face any one of five sides, with their placing as one of the five seeds in the League Route meaning that Athletic, Lille, Copenhagen, Standard Liege and Besiktas are the potential opponents for the 2006 runner-up.

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The other four seeded teams are Porto, Zenit St Petersburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Napoli, with each being matched up against one of the same five seeds for which Arsenal is a possible opponent.

As has occurred over the past few seasons, there will also be a separate draw for teams in the Champions Route. These are sides which have won the most recent domestic championship in lower-ranked nations.

Bulgarian champion Ludogorets – which edged out Partizan Belgrade on away goals in the third qualifying round – is among the five seeds, as is 1986 European Cup winner Steaua Bucharest.

The draw takes place on Friday at UEFA headquarters in Nyon.

THE DRAW | Routes and seeds
LEAGUE ROUTE
Seeds
Non-seeds
Arsenal
Porto
Zenit
Bayer Leverkusen
Napoli
Athletic Bilbao
Lille
Copenhagen
Standard Liege
Besiktas
CHAMPIONS ROUTE
Seeds Non-seeds
Salzburg
Steaua Bucharest
Apoel Nicosia
BATE Borisov
Ludogorets
Maribor
Legia Warsaw
Slovan Bratislava
Malmo
Aalborg

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