Dons Eagerly Anticipate Europa Draw

Last updated : 17 July 2009 By Stand Free Ed

EuropasmallAn exciting couple of days for Dons fans starts at 12.30pm today when the draw for the Third Qualifying Round of the inaugural Europa League is made.

And the new Dons boss and European Cup-Winners Cup winner Mark McGhee believes that some of the Aberdeen players are more Euro-savvy than he is.

Despite his achievements in the ECWC and Super Cup as a Dons player, the 52-year-old Dons boss has scant recent European experience as a manager — certainly compared to the Dons players who featured in the superb UEFA Cup run two years ago.

The Dons' memorable run made the club the first in the SPL outwith the Old Firm to qualify past the group stage, remaining unbeaten at home in the competition before going out to Bayern Munich in the Round of 32.

Because of this, players including Jamie Langfield, Lee Miller, Ricky Foster and Zander Diamond have experience of taking on Dnipro, Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Moscow and Panathinaikos as well as memories of a glorious 4-0 home battering of FC Copenhagen.

By way of comparison, McGhee's only recent experience was being in charge when Motherwell capitulated to an average Nancy side in last season's UEFA Cup first round.

He said: "The Well side lacked European experience but the Aberdeen squad has more of that and that will help this time around.

"They've played in difficult places like Dnipro and came through it. My experience in Europe as a player was so long ago you could argue many of them are better equipped for it than I am."

Today's draw sees Aberdeen seeded and therefore destined to play an unseeded outfit such as retro Euro name Hajuk Split or Hearts' big team FBK Kaunas.

If the Dons make it over their tricky Third Qualifying Round hurdle, they are likely to be unseeded and may have to conquer a Euro giant to make the group stages — something that McGhee is keen to avoid.

He said: "If we got into the group stages it could have a major impact on the budget I've got. There's money to be made so at this stage so we want the easiest draws possible."

Aberdeen are in Group 5 for the draw, and will face one of the following teams:

  • Elfsborg SWE or Haladas HUN (first leg 3-0)
  • Sigma Olomouc CZE or Fram Reykjavik ISL (first leg 1-1)
  • FK Sevojno SRB or FBK Kaunas LIT (first leg 0-0)
  • Hajduk Split CRO
  • Crusaders NIR or Rabotnicki MKD (first leg 1-1)

For an unbelievably in-depth look at the seeding procedure, how likely it is that AFC will be seeded in the Fourth Qualifying Round, which teams are seeded and unseeded, and who the Dons are likely to face, see CaddyCarhandle's brilliant threads on the Stand Free Messageboard:

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