Tottenham will be drawn in UEFA Conference League qualifiers on Monday

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The journey that will be the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League starts for Tottenham Hotspur on Monday as the play-off draw begins.

There are a number of things about the Conference League that make it unique from other continental UEFA competitions. One of the most important is the fact that no team qualifies directly for the group stage. While last season’s Premier League top four are all fully qualified for the Champions League group stage, just like last season, Tottenham have yet to fully qualify for European competition. This qualifying journey – however short – begins on Monday with the draw for the play-offs.

The Conference League play-off draw

Monday’s draw matches the teams in the last round of matches before the first group stage of the Conference League. There are technically still two routes to the group stage. There’s the champions path, which includes teams that have been knocked out of Europa League qualifying at different times and have fallen down that path.

At this point, there are 20 teams vying for just five spots via the champion path. 10 of those teams are already in the Conference League playoffs, with the five winners of the third qualifying round facing five losing teams in the Europa League third round playoffs. These next five winners will be joined by 10 other teams who will be eliminated from the Europa League at the play-off stage for almost half (15) of the 32 teams in the group stage. Spurs are part of the group that will make up the other 17 teams in the group stage.

Tottenham must qualify from the main lane

Tottenham Hotspur are part of the main track, which consists of 34 teams. Tottenham are one of four teams that have entered the competition at this stage. FC Union Berlin, Stade Rennais and Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma were the other three teams to enter at this stage of the competition.

These four teams are joined by three who come from the main Europa League third round qualifying path and 27 who advance from the main Conference League third round qualifying path. These 34 teams were then divided into four groups – three groups of eight and one group of ten. Each team in each group is assigned a number – 1-4 being seeded and 5-8 unseeded.

Although many matches to determine exactly who will or will not advance from the third qualifying round must take place, the number assignments for the draw have already begun. Tottenham Hotspur have been placed in Group 1 – a group of eight teams – and received number four.

Knowing their number, on Monday the numbers will be drawn with Tottenham facing the winner of one of the number 5-8 games in Group 1. If Spurs are paired with #5, they will face the winner of PFC CSKA-Sofia (BUL) – NK Osijek (CRO). Being drawn with the No.6 will leave the Lilywhites hosting the winner FC Paços de Ferreira (POR) – Larne FC (NIR). The #7 means Spurs face the winner of Breidablik (ISL) – Aberdeen FC (SCO). Finally, if Tottenham are paired with the No.8, they will face the winner of FK Čukarički (SRB) – Hammarby Fotboll (SWE).

What’s most interesting for teams who could potentially face Tottenham is that they still need to win two games to even get that trip to London, as the third qualifying round doesn’t start until Tuesday August 3, the day after of the draw.

A play-off round means early congestion for Tottenham

Monday’s draw will go well and after the second leg of the third round playoffs, Tottenham will finally know who they will face. The biggest problem is when these matches start.

The play-off to qualify for the Conference League group stage is a two-legged affair that will be played on August 19 and 26. Tottenham starts the Premier League season just four days before the first play-off, then play again three days later.

With the two games added to the anticipated schedule, Tottenham will actually play five games over 14 days in August between the 15th and 29th. These will be big games for Tottenham on both fronts. Manchester City, Wolves and Watford are a crucial start for many reasons, and reaching the UEFA Europa Conference League proper and frankly winning the entire competition should certainly be a team target for the season.

How Tottenham prepare now will help determine their success then. With the draw and process starting on Monday, Tottenham have no time to waste.


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