Kilmarnock will play Europa League football in July, having secured their first place in European football since 2001. They start their campaign on the 11th of July, where they will play the first leg of the first qualifying round against one of 47 European minnows.
Killie are seeded for this draw, meaning they’ll get one of many European minnows in the unseeded section in the draw. Based on coefficient, the hardest team they could face is Estonian side FCI Levadia Tallinn, who finished second in the nation’s top flight.
There are a number of other smaller teams they could face like Balzan from Malta, Shamrock Rovers or FK Zeta of Montenegro. No matter who they face, you’d like to think the Ayrshire outfit will breeze past them.
That would land them in the unseeded section of the second round draw. This could earn them a decent tie against some very good teams from the continent.
Here are four big teams that could make their way to Rugby Park in the summer, should Kilmarnock get past a European minnow.
The Italian giants finished just three points of an automatic Champions League place this year. They finished sixth in Serie A, meaning they’ll need to play six games before reaching knockout European football.
One of those games could be at Rugby Park. I Giallorossi are by far the biggest team in the second round draw, with a coefficient of 81,000. They are a Champions League level team.
With stars like Edin Dzeko, Justin Kluivert and Stephen El Shaarawy in their ranks, this is the biggest tie Killie could get in round two.
The Germans have just lost top striker Luka Jovic, but will still be a force next season. They made the semi-finals of this year’s Europa League and will be strong opposition for any unseeded side.
This would be another great draw for Kilmarnock. They are a big team with passionate fans. The Commerzbank-Arena, where they play their home games, would also be a brilliant away trip for fans.
Factor in they’d be playing against some top talent, this is another potentially special fixture for Killie.
The Premier League side have been bankrolled in recent years, leading to their success in the EPL last year. They secured European football after a promising return to the English top flight.
They play an attractive brand of football, with internationals like Ruben Neves very eye-catching players to watch. To see them try and perform at Rugby Park would be brilliant, and would likely make for a decent game.
Factor in this is the most accessible away trip, this may be Kilmarnock supporters’ preferred choice in the second round.
The Catalan outfit enjoyed a decent season in La Liga last year, getting a Europa League spot on goal difference with a seventh place finish.
This may be good for Killie, as not only are they a decent sized team, there is a big chance for an upset. Whilst they are solid at home, Espanyol only won three times away from home last season in the league.
If they could get a result at Rugby Park in this tie, if it were to happen, the Ayrshire men could well cause a European upset.