Motherwell have had their Europa League second and third qualifying round fate decided.
The Well won in their first round match over Northern Irish outfit Glentoran, brushing the 10-man Glens team aside with a 5-1 scoreline. Now they have been given their second round task, and should they complete that, their third.
It’s another Northern Irish outfit next, this time travelling to The Showgrounds to face Coleraine, managed by former St Mirren manager Oran Kearney. If Motherwell beat The Bannsiders, they face a trip to Albania or Israel against either KF Laci or Hapoel Be’er Sheva
NTOF takes a look at the three sides Motherwell will and could be taking on this month.
We’ll start with Stephen Robinson’s confirmed round two opponents, Coleraine. A team the Well boss will know well from his coaching days in his homeland, this will be no easy task, with Kearney’s team beating Maribor away from home on penalties to set up this encounter.
A part-time side, Coleraine have faced Scottish opposition in Europe twice before, playing Kilmarnock and Dundee United during the 70s and 80s.
They missed out on a second Irish League title last season as Linfield won the curtailed campaign, finishing four points off top in second place.
Jamie McLaughlin is their dangerman in attack, scoring 10 goals in the Northern Irish Premiership last term, Ben Doherty scoring nine from midfield last campaign too whilst also dispatching the winning penalty in Maribor.
Hapoel Be’er Sheva
Hapoel Be’er Sheva obtained a spot in this season’s Europa League qualifiers by winning the Israel State Cup last term, progressing to the second round of qualifying with a 3-0 win over Georgian side Dinamo Batumi.
They are five-time Israelite champions and will be a familiar name to Scottish football fans, having tested Celtic in a 5-4 Champions League qualifying defeat back in 2016. Hapoel have reached the Europa League group stages twice, losing at the play-off stage to Feyenoord last season.
Be’er-Sheva is also more than just football, the club also having basketball, judo, handball, swimming and volleyball departments. They’ve played a host of big names in their various European adventures, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Hertha Berlin some of the teams they have faced.
Be’er Sheva’s opponents in the second qualifying round, the Albanian side will be underdogs when they take on their opposition from Israel. A small club, they were formed in 1960 and play at the 2,300 capacity Laci Stadium.
After a third place league finish under Armando Cungu last season, they will need to create history if they want to face Coleraine or Motherwell. They have never progressed past the second round of Europa League qualifying, failing to do so on seven occasions.
Laci were shock winners in round one of qualifying, beating Inter Baku in the Azerbaijan capital on penalties. They were defeated last season by Be’er Sheva at the exact same stage, losing 2-1 on aggregate. They will hope history doesn’t repeat itself.