Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Europa League: Selected 2nd Round Qualifiers Preview

Europa League: Selected 2nd Round Qualifiers Preview


Our football writer previews some of the Europa League second round qualification games which kick off on Thursday night. 

The quest for participation in the second biggest European football competition continues as teams from different countries battle it out for a spot in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League campaign. The likes of Galatasaray, FC Midtjylland, Brondby IF and Maccabi Tel Aviv will be in action. Most of these games will be cagey affairs as teams know that they will have repercussions going into the return legs.

Thursday 13 July

Brondby IF 2/9 | Draw 5/1 | VPS 12/1
Brondby are the Danish Superliga runners-up, which automatically qualified them for this stage of the competition. They last played competitive football in May but they have competed in five friendlies since, winning four of them. They go into this game with three days left before the Superliga season gets underway.

VPS managed to reach this stage via a 2-0 aggregate victory over Olimpija Ljubljana in the first round after winning each of the two legs 1-0. They finished 4th in the Finnish Veikkausliiga last year and lie second in the current campaign. This will be an interesting encounter with both teams playing well at the moment but Brondby will emerge the victors.

Ostersunds FK 23/10 | Draw 24/10 | Galatasaray 11/10
Ostersunds finished eighth in the Swedish Allsvenskan last season, which helped them secure a place in the second round of the Europa qualifiers. They’re currently sixth in the 2017 campaign with 23 points in 14 games. They've won six, drawn five and lost three of their league games so far this season and have managed to remain unbeaten in their last six league games.

Turkish giants Galatasaray are no strangers to European football. They finished fourth in the league last season which helped them avoid the first round of the qualifiers. The Yellow-Reds have won three of their last five league games and are tipped to come away with the victory here.

Cork City 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | AEK Larnaca 47/20
After finishing runners-up of the Irish Premier Division last season, Cork City have been unstoppable this season, as they top the standings with 19 wins and just one draw from 20 games. They won both of their matches in the two-legged encounter against Levadia Tallinn in the first round of the qualifiers, recording a 2-0 victory on the road before triumphing 4-2 at home.

The Cypriot First Division runners-up, AEK Larnaca eased into this stage past Lincoln Red Imps, whom they thumped 6-1 over the two-legged first round affair. They won 17 of their 26 league games last season, losing only two and drawing the other seven. I expect both teams to play attacking football with Cork City capitalising on home ground advantage.

Ferencvaros 9/4 | Draw 24/10 | FC Midtjylland 23/20
Ferencvaros finished fourth in the Hungarian league, securing a place in the Europa qualification first round where they faced Jelgava. The Hungarians won the match 3-0 on aggregate after winning 2-0 at home and 1-0 away, respectively.

Midtjylland rose to fame after beating Manchester United 2-1 in the 2015/16 last 32 first leg. However, the Red Devils came back strongly in the second leg to defeat the Danish club 5-1. Midtjylland finished 5th in the Danish Superliga last season with 10 victories in 26 games. A narrow away win is tipped. 

Maccabi Tel Aviv 1/6 | Draw 57/10 | KR Reykjavik 16/1
Maccabi Tel Aviv come into this clash off the back of a 5-0 aggregate victory over their first round opponents Tirana. They finished second on the log last season, only three points adrift of league winners Hapoel Be'er Sheva.

When Iceland surprised England at UEFA Euro 2016, Reykjavik became popular as the country’s capital was full of volcanic celebrations. They finished 3rd in the Iceland Urvalsdeild last season. In the qualifiers, they played to a goalless draw away from home but won the home leg 2-0 against SJK from Finland. The Iceland fairy tale isn’t going to happen this time around, Maccabi should be backed to win this one.

Written by Benedict Ngwenya for @Hollywoodbets.net

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