Hibs in Europe: Which teams could the Hibees face in Europa Conference League?
As more and more leagues and domestic cup tournaments around Europe are wrapped up, we can get some idea of the type of opposition Hibs could face in the Europa Conference League second qualifying round.
Hibs will be seeded for the draw on June 16, meaning they avoid facing the likes of Swiss cracks Basel, Eredivisie side Feyenoord, and Astana of Kazakhstan. While they are not guaranteed a straightforward tie, they do stand a good chance of progressing.
Smaller pots will be created prior to the draw meaning the list of potential opponents will be drastically reduced. Some matches to determine all the teams in the hat for the draw still need to take place but if we assume the seeded side progresses, here’s who Hibs might encounter.
2QR possible opponents
Hibs will hope to avoid sterner tests against the likes of Servette of Switzerland or Aris Thessaloniki of Greece, while Dunajska Streda of Slovakia or Belarus outfit Dynamo Brest would rank among trickier ties for the Easter Road side.
They could potentially meet former European opponents Elfsborg, who finished as runners-up in the 2020 Allsvenskan while fellow Swedish teams Hammarby and BK Häcken could also provide opposition.
There could be a rematch with Faroese representatives NSÍ Runavík, or even a meeting with near-namesakes Hibernians if both clubs progress,
Other confirmed potential opponents include Lithuanians Panevėžys; Vålerenga of Norway; Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino of Belarus, and Polish pair Raków Częstochowa and Pogoń Szczecin.
Romania’s Sepsi OSK; Újpest of Hungary; FC Ashdod of Israel, and Bulgarian duo Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Arda Kardzhali could also provide opposition.
Hibs will hope to avoid gruelling trips to Tobol and Shakhter Karagandy in Kazakhstan and Sumgayit and Keşla of Azerbaijan.
Other clubs expected to join the unseeded half of the draw include Levadia Tallinn of Estonia; KuPS of Finland; Icelandic side FH; Andorra’s Santa Coloma, and Coleraine of Northern Ireland.
What about the 3QR?
Assuming Hibs progress to the third qualifying round, they would be unseeded and again the teams would be sorted into smaller sections pre-draw, but there are some formidable teams lying in wait – assuming all the seeded teams progress from the previous round.
Belgians Anderlecht, who knocked Hibs out of the UEFA Cup in 1992, enter at this stage along with LASK of Austria. PAOK of Greece and Portuguese outfit Paços de Ferreira are also confirmed seeds.
The remainder depends on which teams progress from the 2QR but Hibs will hope to avoid the likes of FC Copenhagen, Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic, and Qarabag of Azerbaijan if they all progress.
There is a chance of drawing a more favourable team, with Irish team Dundalk, FK Suduva of Lithuania, and Azorean side Santa Clara all possible seeds.
...and the play-off round?
Nothing like a bit of confidence! If Hibs do make it to the play-off round then they will have seen off a seed in the 3QR and take their place in the draw as a result. This would mean Hibs avoiding a nightmare tie against teams such as Roma, Tottenham Hotspur, or any of the big guns who are expected to progress from the second or third qualifying rounds.