Aug 8, 2014, 8:48 AM EDT
On Friday the draw for the final qualifying stage of the UEFA Champions League was made.
Premier League side Arsenal face a tricky trip to Istanbul to play Turkish outfit Besiktas home and away for a place in the UCL knockout stages.
[RELATED: Celtic reinstated to UCL]
The Gunners made it to the last 16 in 2013-14 but were knocked out by Bayern Munich and have struggled to make waves in Europe’s elite club competition for some time.
As for the other British side in the mix, Celtic were sensationally reinstated on Friday morning after being beaten by Legia Warsaw in the third-qualifying round but the Polish outfit fielded an ineligible player so Celtic were sent through and now face Slovenian champions Maribor for a place in the group stages.
Elsewhere the tie of the round is arguably Spanish side Athletic Bilbao going up against Napoli, as both teams plays attractive soccer and will add some spice to the group stages if they make it through. Lille vs. Porto and FC Copenhagen vs. Bayer Leverkusen also catch the eye.
Below is the draw in full, as you can already start to hear that Champions League music building up in your head.
UEFA Champions League play-off draw, ties to be played August 19/20 & 26/27
Maribor vs. Celtic
Salzburg vs. Malmo
Aalborg vs. Apoel Nicosia
Steaua Bucharest vs. Ludogorets
Slovan Bratislava vs. BATE Borisov
Besiktas vs. Arsenal
Standard Liege vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
FC Copenhagen vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Lille vs. Porto
Napoli vs. Athletic Bilbao
Jul 2, 2015, 11:47 PM EDT
“Come for the game, stay for the fireworks show afterwards!”
Jul 2, 2015, 11:03 PM EDT
The end is nigh for Freddy Adu’s professional soccer career, isn’t it? This has to be as low as it goes.
Jul 2, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT
One last chance for Jurgen Klinsmann to tinker and fine-tune before the USMNT defends its Gold Cup title.
Jul 2, 2015, 8:53 PM EDT
Japan head coach Norio Sasaki: “I do not feel badly for Laura Bassett.”
2015 Gold Cup — Group C preview: Hobbled Mexico still favorites over Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba
Jul 2, 2015, 7:08 PM EDT
Mexico may have lost two Gold Cup starters in the last week, but they’re still heavy favorites in Group C.
USWNT’s Lloyd, Johnston, Rapinoe shorlisted for Women’s World Cup Golden Ball; Solo for Golden Glove
Jul 2, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
Four USWNT players have been shortlisted for the Golden Ball and Golden Glove awards.
Jul 2, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT
Here’s a look at who Los Ticos will have to get by in the group stages. Can Canada and Jamaica make a deep run?
Jul 2, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Pep is more than happy to keep Schweinsteiger around at the Allianz next season, but he’s becoming a little restless.
Jul 2, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT
Can Klinsmann’s side breeze through group play at the Gold Cup?
Jul 2, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
The latest gossip is right here, with updates on two monster transfers.
Jul 2, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT
England’s head coach was full of pride and admiration for his team despite falling at the semifinal hurdle.
Jul 2, 2015, 11:57 AM EDT
Kilnsmann reveals he has decided to take the armband off Clint and hand it to Bradley.
Jul 2, 2015, 10:25 AM EDT
Describing the scene from England, as the Lionesses helped to inspire a nation this summer in Canada.
Jul 2, 2015, 9:23 AM EDT
French international is reportedly mulling over an offer from FCD. What do we think about this?
Jul 2, 2015, 8:47 AM EDT
Manchester United’s “Chicharito” will not play for El Tri this summer after being injured in a friendly.
Jul 2, 2015, 7:40 AM EDT
The U.S. Department of Justice wants to bring FIFA officials accused of corruption to the USA.
Jul 2, 2015, 12:59 AM EDT
Japan beat the U.S. to win the 2011 World Cup. The U.S. beat Japan to win the 2012 Olympics. Round 3 takes place Sunday in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final.
Jul 2, 2015, 12:28 AM EDT
A Major League Soccer franchise is going to win the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:57 PM EDT
Mark Sampson spoke in detail about the character of Laura Bassett and how he hopes girls in England are inspired for the future.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:11 PM EDT
Full credit to England for an inspiring World Cup, and to Japan for getting to a second straight World Cup final.
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- Clint Dempsey replaced by Michael Bradley as USMNT captain for Gold Cup 5
- Despite devastating World Cup exit, England’s women inspired a nation 8
- US ask Switzerland to extradite seven FIFA officials 0
- The world wants Laura Bassett to know that her own goal is nothing to be ashamed of… 10