West Ham United could end up meeting Celtic again in the Europa League.
That’s after the Scottish giants failed to qualify for the Champions League once again after a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Danish side Midtjylland – Winston Reid’s former club.
West Ham battered Celtic 6-2 in a pre-season friendly at Celtic Park last weekend.
A positive memory for West Ham to lean on should they meet Celtic again in Europa League
But the result, although meaningless in the grand scheme of things, will nonetheless serve as a positive memory for West Ham to lean on should the Hammers now face Celtic again in next season’s Europa League.
Celtic will now travel to the Czech Republic to take on Jablonec in the Europa League third qualifying round next Thursday.
West Ham are one of 12 teams to have automatically qualified for the group stage of the revamped Europa League.
If Celtic win their third qualifying round tie over two legs they will then be entered into Monday’s draw for a final play-off qualifier.
The draw will feature 20 teams and the matches, scheduled for the week leading up to the Europa League group stage draw on August 27th, will be well worth keeping an eye on for West Ham fans.
Hoops face two qualifiers to join Hammers in group stage after being dumped out of Champions League
Because any of the qualifiers could end up in West Ham’s group come the main draw.
Some still look down on the Europa League as a hindrance to a club’s domestic hopes.
The long format with 48 teams in the group stages has in the past made for a gruelling campaign.
Especially when some – like West Ham in previous seasons – have had to start the season early to take part in qualifying.
The new and improved Europa League will see the group stage significantly reduced from 48 to 32 teams. And the number of teams participating in qualifying is also reduced significantly.
The first round of the knockout phase also now involves only the group stage runners-up and the Champions League third-placed teams, with the group winners directly advancing to the round of 16.
Massively improved and revamped Europa League is exciting for West Ham
And of course the competition carries the ultimate incentive, qualification for the following season’s Champions League.
Moyes’s side are one of 12 to have qualified for the group stages so far. The other joining West Ham in the competition group stages are Braga, Frankfurt, Lazio, Leicester, Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moskva, Lyon, Marseille, Napoli, ex Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis, and Real Sociedad.
Of the 12 teams qualified so far, West Ham have the third lowest (9th) coefficient with 20.113 – but will likely therefore be in the top 10 seeded teams overall come the draw.