thumbnail Hello,

The Gunners have been seeded for the draw but could face Spanish side Athletic Bilbao or French outfit Lille as they seek to qualify for the group stages in 2014-15

Arsenal face the prospect of being pitted against Spanish side Athletic Bilbao in Friday's draw for the Champions League play-off round.

The Gunners, who finished fourth in the Premier League in 2013-14, enter the competition through the “league route” and are seeded for the draw, meaning they will face one of Bilbao, Lille, Kobenhavn, Standard Liege or Besiktas in order to determine their fate ahead of the group stages.

The Basque side were also seeded until Zenit St Petersburg – who have a higher coefficient ranking in Uefa's standings – defeated Cypriot side Limassol in the third qualifying round.

Bilbao famously beat Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in the last 16 of the Europa League in 2011-12 and finished fourth in La Liga last season – 17 points behind third-placed Real Madrid.

Lille qualify for the play-off round by virtue of their third-placed finish in Ligue 1 – behind PSG and Monaco – while Standard Liege finished as runners-up in the Belgian Pro League.

Kobenhavn and Besiktas both faced ties in the third qualifying round, with the Danish side defeating Dnipro 2-0 on aggregate and the Istanbul outfit overcoming Feyenoord 5-2 over two legs.

Arsenal have not failed to reach the group stages of the competition for 14 seasons and comfortably defeated Fenerbahce 5-0 on aggregate at the same stage last season.

Elsewhere, Celtic's conquerors Legia Warsaw will discover their opponents in the draw, having defeated the Scottish champions 6-1 on aggregate, however the Polish club are currently sweating over their future in this year's competition after Uefa opened up investigations into Henning Berg's side for allegedly fielding an uneligible player at Murrayfield.

The ties will take place on August 19-20 and 26-27.

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


Related

From the web