Dundee Utd to face Slask Wroclaw in Europa League

Dundee United

Dundee United have been paired with Polish side Slask Wroclaw in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

United, who finished fourth in the Scottish Premier League, travel to Poland on 14 July, with the return leg at Tannadice a week later.

Slask finished runners-up in the Polish First Division last season, making the Silesians formidable opponents.

Hearts enter in the third round, while Celtic go straight in at the play-off stage of the tournament.

United, who were beaten Uefa Cup finalists in 1987, went in at the play-off stage last term and were knocked out by AEK Athens 2-1 on aggregate.

"We are in an earlier round this season and there are teams we should be able to beat," said manager Peter Houston prior to the draw.

"It won't be easy because European football is played at a different tempo and you will come up against different styles of play. But we learned a lot from AEK Athens last season."

Meanwhile, former Dundee United midfielder Eamonn Bannon recalled a dispiriting trip to Poland the last time Dundee United faced Slask in a European tie.

Bannon was in the United team of 1980 which carved out a goalless draw against Slask in the first leg of their Uefa Cup first-round tie in Poland before running out easy 7-2 winners at Tannadice.

However, the former Hearts and Chelsea midfielder does not have fond memories of his trip to Eastern Europe.

"Poland was a very, very poor place at the time, it was so depressing," Bannon said.

"There was a big army presence all around and the majority of the crowd were wearing army trench coats.

"There was nothing to see and nowhere to go and it made you realise how lucky you were to live in a richer part of Europe.

"People rarely travelled to places like Poland from Scotland in those days so it gave you a flavour of the country.

"Football was a great release for these people and the grounds were always intimidating so 0-0 was a good result for us and we were confident of getting through in the second leg.

"But it will be a tough tie for United this time.

"They are playing their first game in the middle of July - which is when we used to report for pre-season training."

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