Celtic to face Helsingborg


Soccer:Celtic will face Swedish side Helsingborg in the Champions League play-off round. Neil Lennon’s men booked their place in the draw with a 4-1 aggregate win over Finnish club HJK Helsinki.

Swedish legend Henrik Larsson played for both clubs and is certain to the the focus of attention in the build-up.The Swedish league is well under way and Helsingborg are in sixth position.

In the third qualifier Helsingborg beat Slask Wroclaw 6-1 on aggregate. After their 3-0 first leg win in Poland, Thomas Sorum scored a hat-trick in the return game to complete a comprehensive victory.

Helsingborg booked their place in the third qualifying round with a 3-0 aggregate win over Welsh side The New Saints. Age Hareide's side were forced to settle for a goalless draw away to the Welsh champions in the first leg.

Celtic are looking to reach the group stages of European football's elite club competition for the first time since 2008-09.

Celtic will play the first game away on August 21st with the return match at Parkhead on August 29th.

Elsewhere, Lille will begin their Champions League challenge against Danish champions FC Copenhagen as the French club look to claim a place in the group stage.

Les Dogues finished an impressive third in Ligue 1 last season and victory over FCK in their two-legged play-off would see them join French champions Montpellier and runners-up Paris St Germain in the next round.

Borussia Monchengladbach face a tricky tie against Dynamo Kiev, who knocked out Feyenoord in the third qualifying round in midweek.

Spanish side Malaga will be hoping to put their financial concerns aside when they meet another money-troubled side, Panathinaikos.

The Primera Division club have previously said they are willing to listen to offers for any player because of severe economic troubles, and have already sold midfielder Santi Cazorla to Arsenal.

In other play-off ties, Spartak Moscow face Fenerbahce and Udinese take on Braga.

Basel meet Romanian side CFR Cluj, Scottish champions Celtic take on Helsingborg and BATE Borisov face Hapoel Kiryat Shmona from Israel.

Cypriot club AEL Limassol will go up against Anderlecht and Dinamo Zagreb take on Maribor of Slovenia to complete the fixtures.

The first legs will be played on August 21st and 22nd, with the return matches taking place the following week.

Champions League playoff round draw

Basel v CFR Cluj

Helsingborgs IF v Celtic

AEL v Anderlech

BATE v Hapoel Kiryat Shmona

Dinamo Zagreb v Maribor

Braga v Udinese

Spartak Moscow v Fenerbahce

Malaga v Panathinaikos

Borussia M’Gladbach v Dynamo Kiev

Lille v FC Copenhagen.

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