Europa League draw: Dundalk to face Arsenal in group stages

Filippo Giovagnoli’s side are the third Irish team ever to reach group stages in Europe

Dundalk manager Filippo Giovagnoli and assistant coach Giuseppe Rossi celebrate reaching the Europa League group stages. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dundalk manager Filippo Giovagnoli and assistant coach Giuseppe Rossi celebrate reaching the Europa League group stages. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Dundalk have been drawn to play Arsenal, Rapid Vienna and Molde in Group B of the Europa League.

Filippo Giovagnoli’s became just the third Irish team ever to reach the group stages of any European competition when they beat KI Klaksvik 3-1 in their qualifying playoff at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday night.

The League of Ireland champions were in pot four for the draw made at Uefa headquarters in Nyon on Friday and will now meet Arsenal, Rapid Vienna and Molde in the group stages which will be played between October 22nd and December 10th.

Dundalk will play their three home games at the Aviva Stadium, opening their campaign against Molde on October 22nd with a 5.55pm kick-off and finishing against Mikel Arteta's side on December 10th, also with the earlier kick-off slot.

For obvious reasons Arsenal would have been one of the clubs Dundalk were hoping to be drawn against but, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, they won’t be able to cash in on the full Aviva Stadium that a meeting with last year’s beaten finalists would usually get.

All in all it’s a tough draw for Giovagnoli’s team who will also face Austria’s most successful club in Rapid Vienna while current Norweigan champions Molde – who were managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before he moved to Manchester United – will also make the trip to Dublin.

Win, lose or draw it’s set to be a lucrative few months for the Co Louth side who will earn €570,000 for a win, €190,000 for a draw and, even if they were to lose all six matches, they are still in line for total payment of €2.92m – a huge bonus at a time when League of Ireland clubs are seriously struggling due to the impact of no gate receipts.

Europa League group stage draw

Group A: Roma, Young Boys, Cluj, CSKA Sofia
Group B: Arsenal, Rapid Vienna, Molde, Dundalk
Group C: Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Nice
Group D: Benfica, Standard Liege, Rangers, Lech Poznan
Group E: PSV Eindhoven, PAOK, Granada, Omonoia
Group F: Napoli, Real Sociedad, AZ Alkmaar, Rijeka
Group G: Braga, Leicester City, AEK Athens, Zoryha Luhansk
Group H: Celtic, Sparta Prague, AC Milan, Lille
Group I: Villareal, Qarabag, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Sivasspor
Group J: Tottenham Hostpur, Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp
Group K: CSKA Moscow, Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord, Wolfsberg
Group L: Gent, Red Star Belgrade, Hoffenheim, Slovan Liberec

Dundalk’s Europa League fixtures:
October 22nd (5.55 pm): Molde (h)
October 29th (8pm): Arsenal (a)
November 5th (5.55pm): Rapid Vienna (a)
November 26th (8pm): Rapid Vienna (h)
December 3rd (8pm): Molde (a)
December 10th (5.55pm): Arsenal (h)

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