A place in the Europa League is up for grabs as teams lock horns in the second leg of the third qualifying round this week. Here are some of the Things to look out for in the Europa League. Bet on the Europa League here.
PSV chance of redemption
Former European Cup winners PSV Eindhoven were knocked out of the Champions League in the second qualifying round after a 2-1 defeat at Basel. The defeat ended their quest for another season in the Champions League and overall PSV have been disappointing in the qualifiers. Against Basel in Europe’s premier competition they had a 3-2 first-leg advantage but failed to protect it which led to their painful elimination. However, they now have a chance to qualify for the Europa League playoff round if they beat Norwegian outfit Haugesund. They hold a one-goal advantage but know this is not over yet. Can they finish the job or will Haugesund spring an upset away from home?
Torino and Wolves on a collision course
Both Torino and Wolves registered massive wins in the first leg of the third qualifying round. Torino’s second leg against Belarus side Shakhter Soligorsk is probably a formality after they recorded a 5-0 win at home. Meanwhile, English side Wolves hammered Armenian side FC Pyunik 4-0 in the first leg and just need to finish the job back at Molineux. If both win their ties, they’ll face each other in what is expected to be a mouth-watering showdown. Both teams finished seventh in their respective leagues and with the personnel they both possess, the meeting between Walter Mazzari and Nuno Espirito Santo should be cagey but entertaining. The winners of the two-legged tie, which will take place on August 22 and August 29, will be guaranteed a place in the group stage of the Europa League.
End of the road for Aberdeen?
Scottish side Aberdeen have work to do in their Europa League second-leg clash against Croatian outfit HNK Rijeka who defeated them 2-0 in the first leg. This game comes in a tough week for the Dons who have lost back-to-back games going into this vital meeting. The hosts haven’t lost at home in this competition since 2014, so they will be aiming to maintain that record as they head into the second leg. However, they’ll need to be perfect to beat their opponents. Moreover, it’ll be tough to overturn their 2-0 loss in Croatia, especially after another weekend loss for Aberdeen. Can they do it?
AZ Alkmaar to progress the next round?
AZ drew the first leg 0-0 with Mariupol in Ukraine but this tie is not over yet and both teams will feel they can still progress through to the playoff round of the Europa League. The Eredivisie side are favourites to qualify now that they have the home advantage. On current form, the hosts have an excellent defensive record. AZ have won three of their last four matches against RKC, Fortuna Sittard and Hacken. On each occasion, they have kept a clean sheet. Therefore, AZ have a better chance of going through to the next round.
Strasbourg on the brink of history
Strasbourg face Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv at home in the second leg and have a 1-0 advantage. They have lost just once in qualifying this season and their impervious home form might just get them through. However, Strasbourg’s story is remarkable. They have fought back from liquidation and crawled their way up from the fifth tier in 2011. They remain one of France’s oldest clubs and have won titles in all of the country’s major competitions. After being relegated in 2008, the club plunged down the divisions with their debts skyrocketing. Under the tutelage of Thierry Laurey, Strasbourg now have a well-drilled team capable of competing with the very best in France. A Europa League group stage spot is not far away and if they qualify it will cap off a remarkable rise from the ashes.