Man City could face Guardiola’s old club in Champions League

Date published: Thursday 4th August 2016 6:24

Pep Guardiola: Anxious wait for Man City boss

Pep Guardiola could be headed back to one of his former employers as Man City find out their Champions League play-off opponents on Friday.

City will find out who stands between them a place in the group stage and, in what would represent one of the worst-case scenarios for Guardiola, he may have to take his new squad to Italian giants Roma, where he spent a short spell as a player over a decade ago.

Roma finished third in Serie A last season but lurk as one of the unseeded teams to be avoided in the draw, which also includes Celtic and League of Ireland surprise-packets Dundalk.

City’s potential opponents in the draw are either Roma, Monaco, Young Boys, Rostov or Steaua Bucharest.

Celtic could be drawn against Dundalk, in what would be a glamour tie for the Republic of Ireland club, who beat Belarus’ BATE Borisov to earn their place in the hat.

Brendan Rodgers saw his Hoops side edge through to the play-off round thanks to Moussa Dembele’s stoppage-time penalty to seal a 3-2 aggregate win over Kazakh club Astana.

Celtic’s reward is a place among the top seeds, in the ‘champions route’ section of the draw, which features Viktoria Plzen, FC Salzburg, Apoel and Legia Warsaw, who all won their respective leagues last season.

Their potential opponents include Dundalk, Dinamo Zagreb, Ludogorets Razgrad, FC Copenhagen and Hapoel Beer-Sheva.

City’s fourth-placed Premier League finish last season means they are seeded in the ‘league route’ part of the draw – alongside Porto, Ajax, Borussia Monchengladbach and Villarreal – which has set up the prospect of a difficult two-legged tie.

Even if City do avoid Roma they could face Monaco, who finished third in Ligue 1 last season, or the 3,800-mile round trip to Russian club Rostov in amongst the start to their Premier League campaign.

The play-off ties will take place on August 16 and 17 and August 23 and 24 with the winners earning a Champions League group stage place while the losers slip into the Europa League.

The draw for the Champions League group stage is to take place on August 25.

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