Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny in Warsaw on Champions League spying mission
Published 06/08/2016 | 02:30
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny will travel to watch Legia Warsaw tomorrow after learning that the Polish side stand between his club and a historic breakthrough to the Champions League.
The Airtricity League leaders are at home first in a tie that will be worth at least €12m before the other ancillary benefits of making Europe's premier competition are factored in.
Legia will visit the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday, August 17 and the first-leg attendance is expected be swelled by Ireland's large Polish community. The decider takes place in Warsaw on the following Tuesday, August 23.
Kenny is due to take in Legia's Ekstraklasa Sunday evening meeting with Piast Gliwice in their 31,000 capacity stadium. St Patrick's Athletic visited the venue two years ago where they secured a 1-1 draw in the first leg of a Champions League tie before suffering a 5-0 drubbing in Tallaght.
The Dundalk boss recalls that game and their subsequent thrashing of Celtic before getting eliminated due to fielding an ineligible player but his homework will focus on a side that has changed considerably in the intervening period.
They reached the fourth qualifying round by virtue of a 3-1 aggregate success over Bosnian champions Zrinjski Mostar and a tense 1-0 triumph after two legs with Slovakian outfit Trencin. Legia were the lowest-seeded option in the draw and are ranked lower by UEFA than the BATE Borisov side which Dundalk knocked out earlier this week.
"I'll be a lot wiser when I come back from Poland," said Kenny, "They have been in the group stages of the Europa League for the last two years as well. We're already working on gathering information and trying to build a profile of their team. I want to have a fair degree of knowledge before I travel on Sunday, then watch them live and have a greater idea of how they set up technically and their strengths and weaknesses. I'll watch a couple of games before I go. We have to prepare well."
Kenny is happy that his side's league meeting with Bray next Friday has been brought forward to Wednesday to allow them a full week of preparation.