Where could Dundalk's Champions League adventure take them?


Dundalk stand on the brink of becoming the first League of Ireland club to qualify for the Champions League group stages after a shock 3-0 win over BATE Borisov.

Here's a look at the path ahead for a side already guaranteed a minimum of a place in the Europa League group stage.

Who are Dundalk?

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny on the sidelines
Stephen Kenny calls the shots for Dundalk (Brian Lawless/PA)

Reigning League of Ireland champions Dundalk are based in Co Louth, close to the border with Northern Ireland, and were formed in 1903. Managed by Stephen Kenny, the Lilywhites have lifted the league title three years in succession.

Why was beating Belarus side BATE Borisov such a big achievement?

Dundalk players after facing BATE Borisov
Dundalk's win was revenge for the defeat they suffered last year (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dundalk are the first League of Ireland side since Shelbourne in 2004 to reach the final round of qualifying for the Champions League. They are also the first League of Ireland outfit to reach the Europa League since Shamrock Rovers in 2011.

The win was particularly sweet as it was BATE who beat Dundalk in the Champions League second qualifying round last season.

What are the financial windfalls?

Dundalk had already secured £1 million by reaching the third qualifying round for the Champions League, but their 3-1 aggregate win over BATE has boosted that sum to almost £6 million.

Win the next two-legged tie and qualify for the Champions League proper, and the money on offer could leap as high as £30 million.

Who could Dundalk meet next in the race for the Champions League?

Celtic playing against Barcelona
Celtic could be up next for Dundalk (Liam McBurney/PA)

The draw for the Champions League's final qualifying round takes place in Monaco on Friday. Dundalk could even come up against Celtic if the Scottish champions see off Kazakhstan's Astana.

The likes of Dinamo Zagreb, Olympiacos, Legia Warsaw and Red Bull Salzburg are all potential opponents for Dundalk too.

But the permutations for Friday's draw will be far clearer after the completion of all the third round qualifying ties on Wednesday night.