While most top tier leagues in Europe is still on summer break, Champions League 2023 has just started with a preliminary round this week. Four league winners from Estonia, San Marino, Iceland and Andorra had to play much earlier to carve the road to Istanbul, where the final will be held later.

Estonia’s FC Levadia was hammered 6-1 by Icelandic Champions Vikingur Reykyavik while San Marino side La Florita suffered a 2-1 loss from Andora’s Inter Club d’Escalades in the semifinal of preliminary round. Vikingur eventually advanced to the first qualifying round after thumping Inter Club 1-0. They will be facing off a tougher side, Malmo of Sweden in a two-legged fixtures on July 5 and 12. Here is the detail of the matches at this stage:

CFR Cluj vs Pyunik

Maribor vs Shakhtyor Soligorsk

Ludogorets Razgard vs Sutjeska Niksic

F91 Dudelange vs Tirana

Tobol vs Ferencvaros

FF Malmo vs Vikingur Reykyavik

Ballkani vs Zalgiris

HJK Helsinki vs RFS

Bodo/Glimt vs KI Klaksvik

The New Saints vs Linfield

Shamrock Rovers vs Hibernians

Lech Poznan vs Qarabag

Shkupi vs Lincoln Red Imps

Zrinjski vs Sheriff Tiraspol

Slovan Bratislava vs Dinamo Batumi

The winners at this round will go through the second qualifying round Champions Path. At this stage, the champions of Switzerland (FC Zurich), Czech Rep (Viktoria Plzen), Croatia (Dinamo Zagreb), Greece (Olympiakos) and Israel (Maccabi Haifa), have been waiting. The last two will be locking horns each other while, FC Zurich shall face off the winner of Lech Poznan and Qarabag. Dinamo Zagreb is drawn against the weaker side, either Red Imps/ Shkupi. The same way goes to Viktoria Plzen who will await either HJK or RFS in this round. Meanwhile, in the League Path, Dynamo Kiev and Fenerbahce will be squaring off on July 19 and 26/27 and so will Denmark’s Midtylland and AEK Lanarca.

Once they ease past their oppositions, there are still two more stages to climb, the third qualifying round where the likes of former UCL champions such as PSV Eindhoven, Benfica and Red Star Belgarde, plus Europa League runner-up Glasgow Rangers, AS Monaco, Sturm Graz and the debutante, Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium start their campaign and the play-off round involving Turkish and Danish Champions, Trabzonspor and FC Copenhagen. This stage shall end in late August before the group stage draw is held on August 25. Here are the teams from each pots for the group stage.

2022/23 Champions League Pot 1

  • Real Madrid
  • Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Manchester City
  • AC Milan
  • Bayern Munich
  • Paris Saint-Germain
  • Porto
  • Ajax

2022/23 Champions League Pot 2

  • Liverpool
  • Chelsea
  • Barcelona
  • Juventus
  • Atletico Madrid
  • Sevilla
  • RB Leipzig
  • Tottenham

2022/23 Champions League Pot 3

  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Red Bull Salzburg
  • Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Inter
  • Napoli
  • Sporting CP
  • Bayer Leverkusen

2022/23 Champions League Pot 4

  • Club Brugge
  • Celtic

2022/23 Champions League Pot 3 or 4

  • Marseille
  • 2 winners from play-off round (League Path)
  • 4 winners from play-off round (Champions Path)