Tottenham Hotspur finally know who they will be playing in the 2nd Qualifying Round for this year’s Europa League tournament, and they’ll be heading to Bulgaria in September. In today’s draw, Spurs were drawn at Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv, with the single match set to take place on September 17.
I don’t know much about Bulgarian football, but here’s what Wikipedia has taught me about Lokomotiv Plovdiv: they are known as The Smurfs. They qualified for Europa League first qualifying round despite finishing fifth in the Bulgarian First League Championship Round because the Bulgarian league has some weird rules about European qualification. They defeated Montenegran side Iskra Danilovgrad 1-0 on the road to get here. Oh, and one time their Ultras kidnapped Dimitar Berbatov.
that time when spurs europa league opponents kidnapped berbatov pic.twitter.com/4mAVNu3YY1— cats & stats (@ComradeYouSpurs) August 31, 2020
This, obviously, is a less than ideal draw for Tottenham. Not just because it involves a trip to Bulgaria to play an Eastern European side on their home turf in a one-off match, but also because this match falls three days before Spurs play away at Southampton in the Premier league. Spurs will probably play a rotated side in Bulgaria, but this probably isn’t a match that they can take lightly. Because of COVID-19, one slip-up on the road and they’re out.
You can see the full results of the draw on the Europa League’s website. The other really big fish in this round — AC MIlan — was also drawn away at Ireland side Shamrock Rovers.