NYON, Switzerland (AFP)
Celtic must beat Swedish champions Helsingborgs over two legs in
order to return to the Champions League group stages for the
first time since 2008.
Friday's play-off round draw paired the Scottish title-holders
with a Helsingborgs side who eliminated Poland's Slask Wroclaw
6-1 on aggregate in the third qualifying round.
Neil Lennon's Celtic side beat HJK Helsinki 4-1 on aggregate in
their tie, and were seeded for this stage of the competition.
Henrik Larsson, one of Celtic's all-time great strikers, had two
spells at Helsingborgs either side of his seven-year stint at
The play-off stage draw is divided into two, with domestic
champions kept apart from clubs who qualified for the tournament
without winning their national titles.
That means Celtic avoided teams from Europe's biggest leagues,
including former European Cup finalists Borussia
The Bundesliga side, who were beaten by Liverpool in the 1977
final, are hoping to qualify for the group stages of the
Champions League for the first time but face a tough tie against
Ukraine's Dynamo Kyiv.
Spanish club Malaga, who are enduring serious financial problems
this summer, will face Greek outfit Panathinaikos, the
third-qualifying round conquerors of Motherwell, while Braga meet
Udinese and Lille of France take on FC Copenhagen, the Danes who
reached the last 16 two seasons ago.
The 10 play-off round winners will join 22 automatic qualifiers
in the group stage, which runs from September 18-19 to December
This season's final will be held at Wembley for the second time
in three years.