The club from Transylvania came to prominence by reaching the 2008/09 Champions League group stage, where they beat Roma and drew with Cheslea.
Stadium Dr. Constantin Radulescu (capacity 23,500)
Star man Pantelis Kapetanos. Greek striker who was top scorer last season after signing from Steaua Bucharest.
Routed Slask Wroclaw 6-1 on aggregate in the third round but are currently sixth in the league after 17 matches. There is a statue of former Celtic striker Henrik Larsson outside their ground as he had two spells at the club and finished his career there.
Stadium Olympia (17,500)
Coach Age Hareide
Star man Alvaro. Dangerous Brazilian striker who is in his second spell with club.
Beat F91 Dudelange home and away, and 5-1 on aggregate, in the third round. They knocked Rangers out of last season's Europa League in the play-off round, winning 2-1 at home and drawing 1-1 at Ibrox.
Stadium Ljudski (12,994)
Coach Darko Milanic
Star man Marcos Tavares. Brazilian is both captain and the club's all-time top European goalscorer.
Beat Partizan Belgrade 1-0 in both legs of the third qualifying round. They won the Cypriot League this year for the first time in 44 years.
Stadium Tsirion Stadium (13,331)
Coach Pambos Christodoulou
Star man Orlando Sa, full internationalist for Portugal who was signed from Fulham. Dangerous goalscorer.
Got through 6-2 against Neftchi Baku of Azerbaijan in the last round. The club were formed only 12 years ago and shocked Israeli football this year by winning the title for the first time. They come from a town with only 23,000 inhabitants.
Stadium Municipal Stadium (5300)
Coach Gili Landau
Star man Laszlo Lencse. Hungarian striker.
The ties are on August 21/22 and 28/29
CELTIC have spent so much time thinking and talking about the Champions League that it's easy to forget how little their players really know about it. The club will this morning learn who must be beaten to make it from the play-off round to the group stage proper: they will be drawn against either CFR Cluj, Helsingborgs, Maribor, AEL Limassol or Hapoel Kiryat Shmona. Worthy of respect and no mugs, any of them, although all beatable.
Champions League football seems familiar to everyone and discussion of it is as routine within Parkhead as it is anywhere else, yet only two Celtic players have appeared in the group stage for the club. Almost an entirely new team has been assembled since Scott Brown and Georgios Samaras played in the 2008/09 against Manchester United, Villarreal and Aalborg. The club is out of the habit of playing at that level and excitement about being only 180 minutes away from a return must be accompanied by clear-headed analysis of whether the squad would be able to compete.
When Samaras spoke yesterday, having scored one of the midweek goals to eliminate HJK Helsinki and confirm Celtic's inclusion in today's draw, there were two aspects of the Celtic squad he highlighted: the relative youth of the players and the amount of time they have been together at Parkhead. Both of those qualities indicated the club's rich potential, he said.
Others at the club have also stressed this band-of-brothers quality of the Celtic squad recently and it is worthy of note that the oldest regular player is Kris Commons at only 28. Adam Matthews is 20, Victor Wanyama and James Forrest 21, Thomas Rogne 22, Ki Sung-Yueng 23, Gary Hooper, Fraser Forster, Biram Kayal and Anthony Stokes 24, Joe Ledley 25, Charlie Mulgrew and Emilio Izaguirre 26, and Brown and Samaras 27. That's a young group.
As for Samaras's other point, the unchanging stability of the squad, they have all been playing together for at least two seasons with the exception of Matthews and Wanyama, who both arrived last summer.
"The quality is there, I think we have proved that in the last few years with the same players and the same team," said Samaras. "Players have not been coming in and a few players have gone out. We were close to go through from the Europa League group last year, until the last game against Udinese, but we won the SPL so the quality is there. We just need to believe in ourselves more and push ourselves more.
"The best thing that's happened is that the team has grown together. We know each other really well, on and off the pitch. We know exactly our own strengths and our weaknesses. We are not perfect but we work really hard to improve individually and as a team as well."
Samaras's upbeat analysis was understandable, especially in the aftermath of a very rare European away win and clean sheet in the Finnish capital. Celtic fully deserved their 4-1 aggregate victory after winning both legs. Even so, HJK were unimpressive opponents and Celtic can expect to face a step up in class whoever they draw in the play-off round, and an even bigger one if they make it into the group stage.
Lennon's squad still looks short of a commanding centre-half and a powerful, consistent goalscorer. During the first half of the first leg, and the second half of the second leg, they came under pressure from HJK and were not always comfortable about dealing with it. Wanyama can be a reassuring protection in front of the back four but his two bookable offences and red card in Helsinki mean he is suspended for the first leg of the play-off, which will be played on August 21 or 22.
Reaching the play-off carried enormous significance. At the very worst, Celtic will have Europa League group stage football until December. Win the play-off and they will have the Champions League until then. European football will generate excitement and stimulation when it may be otherwise difficult to maintain in Celtic's domestic season given the inevitability of them dominating the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Samaras's view that Celtic would have "a 50-50 chance" against any of the handful of potential opponents in the 11am draw might be regarded as a little pessimistic. There is no daunting name among the five they could face. Each would be difficult and each has the potential to eliminate the Scottish champions, but none is so powerful that Celtic would not go into the tie with a real chance. They will be the seeds and therefore expected to progress. The last time the club reached this stage was in 2009 but now, unlike then, no club of Arsenal's calibre stands in their way.
"We just have to do our best to get into the Champions League," said Samaras. "If we don't, then we are still in Europe [in the Europa League group stage]. It's the Champions League that we want, though. It is absolutely fantastic and personally that's my aim. I also want the other lads who have not experienced it to see what it is like because it really is something special. It would just be terrific for the young players. We are a young team, really young, and that is where we want to be together."
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