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THE five clubs that The New Saints could face in the first qualifying round of the Champions League became clear on Sunday when KF Trepca '89 won the Kosovan Superliga for the first time in their history.

Based in Mitrovica, the club will make its debut in European competition with a zero coefficient, the lowest on the unseeded side of the draw. FCI Tallinn of Estonia are the next-lowest seeded and made their European debut in the Europa League last season, losing 6-3 on aggregate to Hearts.

Europa FC of Gibraltar have won a European tie, beating Pyunik of Armenia in last year's Europa League, before a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Swedish outfit AIK, who had defeated Bala Town in the first round.

TNS could face a trip to San Marino for the second successive season, having beaten Tre Penne at the same stage last year. This year's champions are La Fiorita, who made their debut in the Europa League in 2013 and the Champions League a year later when they lost 8-0 to Levadia Tallinn.

Highest-seeded and most dangerous of the potential opponents are Alashkert from Armenia, who caused an upset with an away goals win over St Johnstone in Perth on their European debut two years ago, despite being reduced to 10-men at McDiarmid Park.

Last season, Alashkert also won their opening tie in the Champions League, beating minnows Santa Columa of Andorra 3-0, before a 3-1 exit at the hands of Dinamo Tbilisi.

The New Saints (Wal)
Alashkert (Arm)
Linfield (Nir)
La Fiorita (Sma)
Vikingur (Far)
Europa FC (Gib)
Hibernians FC (Mlt)
Infonet Tallinn (Est)
Santa Colomba (And)
Trepca 89 (Kos)

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24 September 2017

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