The Edinburgh club are a Priority One side in the draw, which takes place at 12pm this Tuesday, August 2, at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon. They will be paired with a Priority Three or Priority Four club, and the names of teams likely to be in those pots is now slightly clearer.
A number of teams dropped out of the Champions League qualifiers on Wednesday night and into the Europa League’s third qualifying round. The winners of the following Europa League third qualifying round ties will progress to the tournament’s play-off round in the Priority Three pot:
Malmo (SWE) v F91 Dudelange (LUX)
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Shamrock Rovers (IRE) v Shkupi (MKD)
Linfield (NIR) v Zurich (SUI)
Olympiakos (GRE) v Slovan Bratislava (SVK)
Maribor (SVN) v HJK Helsinki (FIN)
The Priority Four pot will contain the winners of the following matches:
AEK Larnaca (CYP) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)
Fenerbahce (TUR) v Slovacko (SVK)
So Hearts will be up against one of the 14 sides named above. They will not know the exact identity of their opposition when the play-off round draw is made on Tuesday because the Europa League’s third qualifying round takes place on August 4 and 11.
The play-off round is scheduled for August 18 and 25, with winners at the point progressing to the competition’s group phase. Losers drop into the Europa Conference League groups.
Hearts supporters will relish the prospect of an away trip to places like Helsinki, Istanbul, Zurich or Bratislava as they prepare for their first European adventure since 2016.