While all attention is currently shifted on UEFA Euro 2020, the 2021-22 European campaign gets under way on Tuesday as Hibernians, Gżira United, Birkirkara and Mosta will be discovering their European opponents in this season’s Champions League and UEFA Europa Conference League.
Hibernians, who replaced champions Ħamrun Spartans as the Maltese representative in UEFA’s elite competition, will be involved in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.
The draws – scheduled at noon – sees the Paolites as one of the unseeded teams in Group Four.
Hibernians face a tough start to the competition as they can be drawn against one of four seeded sides in this pot, namely Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb, Ferencvaros, of Hungary, Zalgiris Vilnius, of Lithuania, and Estonia’s Flora Tallinn, who last season knocked out Floriana from the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
The first qualifying round matches will be played next month, with the first leg scheduled for June 6 and 7 and the return legs a week later.
The second qualifying round draw will take place on Wednesday.
In the UEFA Conference League, Malta will have three representatives in the first qualifying round of the newly-formed competition.
Gżira, Birkirkara and Mosta will be eagerly waiting to find out who will they face in the two-legged affair scheduled for June 8 and 15.
Gżira United are the only Maltese side who are seeded in Tuesday’s draw.
The Maroons are in Pot 7 and will fancy their chances of being handed a favourable draw as they can come up against Sant Julia, of Andorra, Glentoran, of Northern Ireland, Ireland’s Bohemians and Kauno Zalgiris, of Lithuania.
Incidentally, Gżira United have already played Andorra’s Sant Julia in the UEFA Europa League qualifiers in 2018, when they cruised to a 2-0 away win before wrapping up qualification with a 2-1 win at the Centenary Stadium.
Birkirkara are one of the unseeded teams in Group 2 and face the prospect of playing San Marino’s La Fiorita, Santa Coloma, of Andorra, Coleraine, of Northern Ireland and Slovenia’s Domzale, the strongest side in the pot.
Mosta FC, who will be making their first-ever appearance in the UEFA club competitions, are in Group 8 and face a tough looking draw.
In fact, the Blues could be paired with one of NSI Runavik, of Faroe Islands, Liepaja, of Latvia, Spartak Trnava, of Slovakia, Dundalk, of Ireland and Breidablik, of Iceland.
The UEFA Europa Conference League draw is pencilled for 1.30pm.