Standard Liege and Dinamo Tbilisi among opponents for Welsh sides in Europe

Image: Bala Town FC

Bala Town have landed a home tie against Belgian giants Standard Liege in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

In the same stage of the competition, Connah’s Quay Nomads will host Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia and The New Saints travel to the Faroe Islands to meet past European foes B36 Torshavn.

All ties, one-off affairs due to Covid-19 restrictions, will take place on Thursday, September 17. Venues for Bala and Nomads to be confirmed.

Bala’s opponents Standard Liege are one of Belgium’s most successful clubs.
They have won 10 Belgian League titles, the most recent in 2008-09, and eight Belgian Cups.

Liege have played more than 200 matches in Europe and in 1981-82 reached the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, losing 2-1 to Barcelona.

In 1996, they were runners-up in the Intertoto Cup to Karlsruher SC of Germany.

In popular culture, Standard Liège are mentioned in the song “This One’s for Now” by the band Half Man Half Biscuit on the album Urge for Offal.

Bala are on cloud nine after their 1-0 win at Valletta of Malta in the last round earned them a first-ever overall victory in a European tie.

Image: Connah’s Quay Nomads FC

Nomads enter the Europa League at the second qualifying round stage having dropped down from the Uefa Champions League, where they were gallantly beaten 2-0 by FK Sarajevo at the first hurdle.

The 2019-20 Cymru Premier League champions will tussle with Tbilisi, 17 time Erovnuli Liga (Georgian National League) champions and winners of the Georgian Cup on 10 occasions.

Dinamo have an illustrious European history, having won 71 out of 162 games. Their most famous achievement was winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1980-81, the season after dumping Liverpool out of the European Cup.

In the 2011-12 Europa League, they were beaten 2-1 at Welsh Premier side Llanelli, but having won the home leg 5-0 progressed comfortably on aggregate.

Tbilisi have produced a multitude of famous players, including Georgi Kinkladze, later to become a legendary figure at Manchester City.

The New Saints will be on familiar territory when they face B36 Tórshavn, having played them in the first qualifying round of the Champions League in 2015-16.

The Welsh club progressed from that two-legged tie, winning 2-1 in the Faroe Islands and 4-1 at home.

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