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UEFA Youth League domestic champions path: AZ, Basel, Mainz, Midtjylland, Nantes, Olympiacos, Partizan, Žilina through

Holders AZ Alkmaar, Basel, Mainz, Midtjylland, Nantes, Olympiacos, Partizan and Žilina are through to the play-offs.

Olympiacos celebrate scoring against Gabala
Olympiacos celebrate scoring against Gabala Eurokinissi Sports

Holders AZ Alkmaar, Basel, Mainz, Midtjylland, Nantes, Olympiacos, Partizan and Žilina went through from the two-round UEFA Youth League domestic champions path to reach the play-offs.

The path contained the domestic youth champions of the 32 highest-ranked associations whose domestic youth champions' senior teams did not qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage (and therefore are in the Champions League path group stage). They played two rounds of home-and-away ties.

Nantes were the first team through last week after winning 4-3 on penalties at HJK Helsinki to earn a play-off debut, having previously beaten Lech Poznań by the same method in the first round. HJK had won 1-0 over the 90 minutes to overturn their defeat by the same scoreline in the opening leg, which was watched by a domestic champions path record crowd of 12,450 at Stade de la Beaujoire.

Holders AZ Alkmaar – who last season became only the second club to win from this path – followed them on Tuesday, several of their 2022/23 champion squad involved as they won 2-0, and 6-3 on aggregate, against Molde. UEFA Youth League newcomers Partizan won 5-2 to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg against Sheriff Tiraspol, who scored two late goals in Belgrade to almost force penalties.

On Wednesday, Midtjylland made it through this route for a record-extending sixth time with a 4-1 aggregate victory against Ruh Lviv, who reached the last eight from the domestic champions path a year ago. However, Ruh's 1-0 away win in the second leg was Midtjylland's first defeat in 12 home domestic champions path games, and only their second in 24 overall.

Basel ended the hopes of another former quarter-finalist, Dinamo Zagreb, and Olympiacos completed a comfortable win agaist Gabala. Žilina beat Sparta Praha 4-2 on penalties after a thrilling second leg that ended 4-4 for a 6-6 aggregate score, both teams leading on two separate occasions and the Slovakian side equalising deep in added time. In the last tie to conclude on Sunday, Daniel Gleiber scored with virtually the final kick to send Mainz through 3-2 on aggregate past fellow debutants Dinamo Minsk.

The eight domestic champions path second-round winners will host the eight Champions League path group runners-up in February's play-off round with the draw on 19 December. The eight play-off winners will join the eight group winners in the round of 16, with the one-legged knockout phase leading to a one-venue four-team final tournament in April.


Second-round results

Second legs

Sunday 3 December
Dinamo Minsk 1-2 Mainz (agg: 2-3)

Wednesday 29 November
Midtjylland 0-1 Ruh Lviv (agg: 4-1)
Dinamo Zagreb 0-0 Basel (agg: 0-2)
Olympiacos 4-0 Gabala (agg: 7-0)
Žilina 4-4 Sparta Praha (agg: 6-6, Žilina win 4-2 on penalties)

Tuesday 28 November
AZ Alkmaar 2-0 Molde (agg: 6-3)
Partizan 5-2 Sheriff Tiraspol (agg: 5-4)

Wednesday 22 November
HJK Helsinki 1- 0 Nantes (agg: 1-1, Nantes win 4-3 on penalties)

First legs

Wednesday 29 November
Mainz 1-1 Dinamo Minsk

Wednesday 8 November
Sparta Praha 2-2 Žilina 
Gabala 0-3 Olympiacos 
Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0 Partizan 
Ruh Lviv 0-4 Midtjylland 
Nantes 1-0 HJK Helsinki 
Basel 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb 

Tuesday 7 November
Molde 3-4 AZ Alkmaar

Sparta go for goal in the first leg of their thrilling tie with Žilina
Sparta go for goal in the first leg of their thrilling tie with ŽilinaAC Sparta Praha Youth

• AZ won their maiden title last season, beating Hajduk Split, the first time the final had been between two teams from the domestic champions path (although Salzburg had previously won the title from this path in 2016/17).

• Like AZ, Ruh Lviv came through this path last season, getting to the quarter-finals after knocking out Galatasaray and Inter.

• Midtjylland had previously made it through this route a record five times, twice getting as far as the quarter-finals.

• Dinamo Zagreb reached the quarter-finals in 2018/19 (from the domestic champions path) and 2019/20.

• Žilina got to the round of 16 from this path in 2021/22. Basel and Olympaicos have both also reached the round of 16, but never via this path.

• Dinamo Minsk, Mainz and Partizan all continued their UEFA Youth League debuts.

First-round results

Mainz won their first ever Youth League tie, against Maribor
Mainz won their first ever Youth League tie, against Maribor1. FSV Mainz 05 e.V.

Second legs

Wednesday 25 October
İstanbul Basaksehir 1-3 Dinamo Zagreb (agg: 2-5)
Midtjylland 0-0 Famalicão (agg: 2-2, Midtjylland win 7-6 on penalties)
Sheriff Tiraspol 5-0 Turan Turkistan (agg: 6-0)
Puskás Akadémia 0-1 Gabala (agg: 1-2)
Sarajavo 1-3 Ruh Lviv (agg: 2-4)
Žilina 5-0 Pafos (agg: 6-0)
Nantes 0-0 Lech Poznań (agg: 1-1, Nantes win 4-2 on penalties)
Klaipėda 0-2 AZ Alkmaar (agg: 0-14)
HJK Helsinki 1-2 Malmö (agg: 5-3)
Partizan 4-0 Universitatea Craiova (agg: 5-0)
Mainz 1-1 Maribor (agg: 3-1)
Basel 2-0 Gent (agg: 3-0)
Lecce 1-3 Olympiacos (agg: 2-6)

Tuesday 24 October
Hamilton Academical 4-2 Molde (agg: 4-5)

Sunday 8 October
Ludogorets 0-2 Dinamo Minsk (agg: 1-2)

Maccabi Haifa vs Sparta Praha
Maccabi Haifa withdrawn

Olympiacos knocked out debutants Lecce
Olympiacos knocked out debutants LecceEurokinissi Sports

First legs

Wednesday 4 October
Turan Turkistan 0-1 Sheriff Tiraspol 
Lech Poznań 1-1 Nantes 
Ruh Lviv 1-1 Sarajevo 
Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 İstanbul Basaksehir 
Gabala 1-1 Puskás Akadémia 
Pafos 0-1 Žilina 
Sparta Praha 1-1 Maccabi Haifa 
Famalicão 2-2 Midtjylland 
Olympiacos 3-1 Lecce 
Dinamo Minsk 0-1 Ludogorets 
Universitatea Craiova 0-1 Partizan
Maribor 0-2 Mainz
Malmö 1-4 HJK Helsinki 
Gent 0-1 Basel

Tuesday 3 October
Molde 3-0 Hamilton Academical
AZ Alkmaar 12-0 Klaipėda

Action from Basel's 1-0 first-leg win at Gent
Action from Basel's 1-0 first-leg win at GentBELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

• AZ Alkmaar – who last season became only the second club to win from this path – began their bid to repeat the feat with a competition-record 12-0 victory against Klaipėda, a much-changed team winning the return 2-0.

• Midtjylland, who have come through the domestic champions path a record five times and lost only one of 20 individual matches in those rounds, edged past Famalicão in a penalty shoot-out that went to sudden death. The second leg ended scoreless after the first game was 2-2, Famalicão denied victory in their club's debut UEFA competition fixture at any level by a late two-goal comeback.

• In the first legs, HJK Helsinki became first team from Finland to win a match in this tournament, 4-1 at Malmö. HJK then progressed despite a 2-1 second-leg loss.

Other teams through include debutants Partizan, Dinamo Minsk and Mainz (the latter pair facing off in the second round), two-time quarter-finalists Dinamo Zagreb, and Ruh Lviv, who made the last eight from this path a year ago and next face Midtjylland.

• Dinamo Minsk, Famalicão, Istanbul Başakşehir, Klaipėda, Lecce, Mainz, Pafos, Partizan, Sarajevo, Turan Turkistan and Universitatea Craiova all made their UEFA Youth League debuts in the first round.

• For Famalicão, Klaipėda, Lecce and Turan, this is the first time their clubs had been represented in UEFA competition at any level.

2023 final highlights: AZ Alkmaar 5-0 Hajduk Split

Knockout dates

Play-off draw: 19 December, Nyon
Play-offs: 6/7 February
Knockout draw (round of 16 onwards): 9 February, Nyon
Round of 16: 27/28 February
Quarter-finals: 12/13 March
Semi-finals: 19 April
Final: 22 April

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