FC København (CL Group stage)
FC Nordsjælland (CL 3rd Qualifying Round)
Esbjerg fB (EL playoff Round)
Randers FC (EL 3rd Qualifying Round)
AaB Aalborg (EL 2nd Qualifying Round) seeded all they way to the Group stage
IF Elfsborg (CL 2nd Qualifying Round) seeded
IFK Göteborg (EL 2nd Qualifying Round) seeded
BK Häcken (EL 2nd Qualifying Round)
Gefle IF (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded (Fair Play)
Malmö FF (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded in 1st and 2nd QR
Molde FK (CL 2nd Qualifying Round) seeded
Strømsgodset IF (EL 2nd Qualifying Round)
IL Hødd (EL 2nd Qualifying Round)
Rosenborg BK (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded all they way to the Group stage
Tromsø IL (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded in 1st and 2nd QR (Fair Play)
HJK Helsinki (CL 2nd Qualifying Round) seeded
Honka Espoo (EL 2nd Qualifying Round)
Inter Turku (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded ----- out QR1
TPS Turku (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded ----- out QR1
IFK Mariehamn (EL 1st Qualifying Round) (Fair Play) ----- out QR1
FH Hafnarfjordur (CL 2nd Qualifying Round)
KR Reykjavik (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded
Breidablik (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded
IBV Vestmannaeyjar (EL 1st Qualifying Round)
Faroe Island :
EB Streymur (CL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded
HB Torshavn (EL 1st Qualifying Round) seeded ----- out QR1
IF Fuglafjørdur (EL 1st Qualifying Round) ----- out QR1
Víkingur (EL 1st Qualifying Round)
If all goes according to how the teams are seeded, then only FC København, AaB Aalborg and Rosenborg are going to qualify for a group stage this season, while FC Nordsjælland, IF Elfsborg, Molde and HJK Helsinki all are going to get a second chance to qualify for the Europa League group stage....
Unlike last season, non of the Swedish teams are seeded all they way to a Group stage, so it will be a bit more difficult for the Swedish clubs this season, while it looks slightly easier for Denmark and Norway... as for Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Island, they all have one more seeded team in the first qualifying round in compare with last season.
2013/14 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round :
Drogheda United (Irl) v Malmö FF (Swe), 0-0
Ryan Brennan, Drogheda (75)
Trans Narva (Est) v Gefle IF (Swe), 0-3
0-1 Aleksandr Dubõkin (owngoal) (43)
0-2 Mikael Dahlberg (57)
0-3 Jonas Lantto (90+3)
Crusaders Belfast (Nir) v Rosenborg BK (Nor), 1-2
1-0 Jordan Owens (22)
1-1 John Chibuike (45+1)
1-2 Jonas Svensson (77)
Tromsø IL (Nor) v NK Celje (Slo), 1-2
1-0 Miika Koppinen (30)
Hans Norbye, Tromsø (83)
1-1 Sebastjan Gobec (pen.) (84)
1-2 Andraž Žurej (75)
Jeunesse d'Esch (Lux) v TPS Turku (Fin), 2-0
1-0 Khalid Benichou (21)
2-0 Chu Wang (52)
Inter Baku (Azb) v IFK Mariehamn (Fin), 1-1
1-0 Asif Mammadov (7)
1-1 Alanzo Adlam (72)
Víkingur (Far) v FC Inter Turku (Fin), 1-1
0-1 Ville Nikkari (20)
1-1 Finnur Justinussen (75)
Vatnhamar, Víkingur (81)
KR Reykjavik (Ice) v Glentoran (Nir), 0-0
Breidablik (Ice) v FC Santa Coloma (And), 4-0
1-0 Thordur Hreidarsson (19)
2-0 Ellert Hreinsson (23)
3-0 Ellert Hreinsson (25)
4-0 Gudjon Lydsson (pen.) (61)
IBV Vestmannaeyjar (Ice) v HB Torshavn (Far), 1-1
1-0 Gunnar Gudmundsson (16)
1-1 Jóhan Davidsen (66)
IF Fuglafjørdur (Far) v Linfield Belfast (Nir), 0-2
0-1 Andy Waterworth (68)
0-2 Philip Lowry (74)
Malmö FF (Swe) v Drogheda United (Irl), 2-0 (agg: 2-0)
1-0 Emil Forsberg (45)
2-0 Simon Kroon (90+4)
--- Gefle IF (Swe) v Trans Narva (Est), 5-1 (agg: 8-1)
1-0 Marcus Hansson (17)
Ilja Shesterkov,Trans Narva (30)
2-0 Johan Oremo (47)
3-0 Mikael Dahlberg (50)
4-0 Erik Törnros (71)
4-1 German-Guri Lvov (82)
5-1 Johan Oremo (90+1)
Rosenborg BK (Nor) v Crusaders Belfast (Nir), 7-2 (agg: 9-3)
1-0 Jon Inge Høiland (15)
2-0 John Chibuike (35)
2-1 Paul Leeman (49)
3-1 John Chibuike (50)
4-1 Borek Dockal (67)
5-1 Tobias Mikkelsen (60)
5-2 Jordan Owens (68)
6-2 Alexander Sørloth (73)
7-2 Jonas Svensson (90)
NK Celje (Slo) v Tromsø IL (Nor), 0-2 (agg: 2-3)
0-1 Magnus Andersen (4)
0-2 Morten Moldskred (16)
Saliou Ciss, Tromsø (81)
TPS Turku (Fin) v Jeunesse d'Esch (Lux), 2-1 (agg: 2-3)
1-0 Alexandre Vitali (owngoal) (30)
Wayne Brown, TPS misuse penalty (66)
1-1 Chu Wang (80)
2-1 Roope Riski (87)
IFK Mariehamn (Fin) v Inter Baku (Azb), 0-2 (agg: 1-3)
0-1 Bachana Tskhadadze (Pen.) (21)
0-2 Vagif Dzavadov (86)
FC Inter Turku (Fin) v Víkingur (Far), 0-1 (agg: 1-2)
0-1 Hanus Jacobsen (pen.) (78)
Pim Bowman, Inter Turku misuse penalty (80)
Glentoran (Nir) v KR Reykjavik (Ice), 0-3 (agg: 0-3)
0-1 Gary Martin (24)
0-2 Jonas Gudni Sævarsson (65)
0-3 Jonas Gudni Sævarsson (90+2)
FC Santa Coloma (And) v Breidablik (Ice), 0-0 (agg: 0-4)
Isma Quiñones,Santa Coloma misuse penalty (45+1)
Isma Quiñones,Santa Coloma (47)
Sverrir Ingason,Breidablik misuse penalty (48)
HB Torshavn (Far) v IBV Vestmannaeyjar (Ice), 0-1 (agg: 1-2)
0-1 Arnar Bergsson (Pen.) (90)
--- Linfield Belfast (Nir) v IF Fuglafjørdur (Far), 3-0 (agg: 5-0)
1-0 Michael Gault (40)
2-0 Jamie Mulgrew (55)
3-0 Philip Lowry (61)
Lots of red cards and misused penalties in this first qualifying round, but the Nordic countries have done as well as could be expected so far, except for Finland that had an absolutely disastrous first qualifying round, where Inter Turku, TPS Turku and Mariehamn all surprisingly got eliminated by teams from the Faroe Islands, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in no doubt the worst performance in many years.
... the Faroe Islands on the other hand managed to get 2 of their 4 participants to the 2nd qualifiyng round, and already have secured their best season in 20 years (since 1993/94), where they managed to pick up an average coefficient of 1.000, so they now need one more win, or two more points, to beat their all-time best result in Europe.
2013/14 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round ;
IF Elfsborg (Swe) v Daugava Daugavpils (Lat), 7-1
1-0 Marcus Rohden (20)
2-0 Jurijs Sokolovs (owngoal) (48)
3-0 Lasse Nilsson (61)
4-0 Marcus Rohden (62)
5-0 Mohammed Bangura (68)
5-1 Koichiro Iizuka (78)
6-1 Viktor Claesson (89)
7-1 Sebastian Holmén (90+2)
Sligo Rovers FC (Irl) v Molde FK (Nor), 0-1
0-1 Daniel Chima (42)
HJK Helsinki (Fin) v JK Nõmme Kalju (Est), 0-0
FK Ekranas (Lit) v FH Hafnarfjördur (Ice), 0-1
0-1 Petur Vidarsson (30)
Swedish Elfsborg had no problem trashing their Latvian opponent, while both Norwegian Molde and Hafnarfjördur from Iceland managed a slim away win in this first leg of the Champions league 2nd qualifying round....
The teams from Finland unfortunately keep disappointing this season, though not all is lost for HJK Helsinki, despite a 0-0 result at home in the first leg against Nõmme Kalju from Estonia. HJK was dominating possession throughout, but had great trouble breaking down a solid looking Estonian defense, so the crowd of around 7,000 saw little in the way of clear-cut opportunities in the first 45 minutes. The visitors were hardly much of a threat, except around half-way through the second half when Hidetoshi Wakui saw his header strike the post. HJK kept pushing forward after the break but even the former Chelsea striker Mikael Forssell failed to inspire the home team in the second half, so no goals in this first leg, but perhaps an away goal or two will be enough to progress from this 2nd qualifying round.
2013/14 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round draw :
Randers FC (Den) v FK Jagodina (Ser)/FC Rubin Kazan (Rus)
Hajduk Split (Cro)/FK Turnovo (Mac) v Dila Gori (Geo)/AaB Aalborg (Den)
IFK Göteborg (Swe)/Trencin (Svk) v Astra Ploieşti (Rom)/AC Omonia (Cyp) Häcken (Swe)/Sparta Praha (Cze) v FC Thun (Sui)/Chikhura Sachkhere (Geo)
Qarabağ FK (Aze)/GKS Piast Gliwice (Pol) v Anorthosis (Cyp)/Gefle IF (Swe)
Swansea City (Eng) v Malmö FF (Swe)/Hibernian FC (Sco)
Valletta FC (Mal)/FC Minsk (Blr) v Rosenborg (Nor)/Saint Johnstone (Sco)
FK Jablonec (Cze) v Strømsgodset (Nor)/Debrecen (Hun)
Inter Baku (Azb)/Tromsø IL (Nor) v Differdange 03 (Lux)/Utrecht (Ned) IL Hødd (Nor)/Aktobe (Kaz) v Sturm Graz (Aus)/Breidablik (Ice)
VMFD algiris (Lit)/FC Pyunik (Arm) v Honka Espoo (Fin)/Lech Poznan (Pol)
Petrolul Ploiesti (Rom)/Víkingur (Far) v Vitesse (Ned)
First leg: 1 August
Second leg: 8 August
Worst possible draw for Randers FC that most surely are going to face Rubin Kazan from Russia... while Malmø FF also seem on a mission impossible against Michael Laudrup's Swansea City, though this at least seem much more interesting than going to Russia.
Elfsborg and Molde had no problem eliminating their Latvian and Irish opponents, while yet another team from Finland was eliminated, when HJK Helsinki did not manage to win the away leg in Tallinn Estonia, unlike Honka Espoo, that beat Nõmme Kalju 2-0 away in a Europa League qualifier in 2011-12, but this season has so far been a huge disappointment for Finland....
On the other hand this seem to be an excellent year for Iceland and Hafnarfjördur that managed to beat their Lithuanian opponent FK Ekranas both home and away, though they suffered a slight scare when Ekranas took the lead through a penalty and nullified their advantage in the 26th minute, but Hafnarfjördur soon scored the equaliser and when Ekranas suffered a further blow ear,ly in the second half when Reyes was red-carded for a professional foul on Atli Björnsson, it was more or less game over for the Lithuanian champions, though they did manage to put up a good fight, despite being reduced to 10 men. But Hafnarfjördur confirmed their win when Atli Björnsson managed to score in 2 minutes injury time.
2013/14 UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round draw ;
FC Nordsjælland (Den) v FC Zenit St Petersburg (Rus)
Celtic FC (Sco) v IF Elfsborg (Swe)
Molde FK (Nor) v The New Saints (Wal)/Legia Warszawa (Pol)
It's all about the TV-money - Scandinavian EC history in short
Written by Ceres.
Swedish Clubs were the first in Scandinavia to leave the days of amateur football and become semi-professionals and in the late 70's to mid 80's it was Malmö FF and later also IFK Göteborg producing great results. Malmö FF reached the Champions Cup final in 1978/79, eliminating AS Monaco, Dynamo Kiev, Wisla Krakow and then Austria Vienna (0-0 & 1-0) in the semi-finals, but losing the final 0-1 to Nottingham Forest. The very next season it was IFK Göteborg producing their very first big result in Europe by reaching a Cup Winners Cup quarter-final, though they got soundly beaten by Arsenal (1-5), but it would only take a few more years before IFK Göteborg won the UEFA Cup final in 1981/82. Actually IFK were in huge financial trouble and close to bankruptcy only a week before their quarter-final vs. Valencia. But despite Danish international Frank Arnesen scoring twice for Valencia, IFK managed to secure a 2-2 result in Spain, so in the return leg in Sweden around 50,000 people showed up and more or less saved the club financially, while the players also did the job by beating Spaniards 2-0.
In the semi-finals IFK Göteborg narrowly got passed Kaiserslautern (1-1 & 2-1) and in the UEFA cup Final 42,000 people watched them beat a rather defensive minded Hamburger SV team in the first leg in Sweden, but not many belived they would be able to defend their small lead in the return leg in Hamburg. Never the less, they surprisingly beat the Germans 3-0 and won the Cup !:
In 1985/86 IFK Göteborg were eliminated in the Champions Cup quarter-finals by Barcelon on penalties, but in 1986/87 the semi-professional Swedish team reached yet another big triumph, beating the Scottish side Dundee United (1-0 & 1-1) in the UEFA cup final. However, 1986/87 was also the very same season when Danish Brøndby IF were the first Scandinavian side to turn full-time professionals, also reaching the Champions Cup quarter-finals that same year. The very next season the Semi-professinal UEFA cup champions IFK Göteborg and Brøndby IF faced eachother in the very first round of the UEFA Cup. Full-time professional Brøndby IF now showed to be the stronger side and won the tie (2-1 & 0-0). Still, IFK Göteborg were not quite finished as a top team in Scandinavia, since they also reached the Champions League group stage in 1992/93 and the CL quarter-finals in 1994/95, but the late 80's to early 90's mainly belonged to a Brøndby IF team that produced their best result in 1990/91 when they were only 5 minutes from reaching the UEFA Cup final, but narrowly lost the away leg to AS Roma by 1-2. On their way to the UEFA cup semi-finals, Brøndby IF had trashed the solid German sides Eintracht Frankfurt (5-0) and Bayer Leverkusen (3-0).
Among other big results, Brøndby eliminated English giants Liverpool in the 1995/96 UEFA cup, when Norwegian defender Dan Eggen secured the 1-0 victory on Anfield. But Brøndby were mainly known as the "German killers" back then, with one of the more remarkable result being the 5-0 away trashing of Karlsruhe in 1996/97. Brøndby a bit surprisingly had lost the home leg by 1-3, more or less defeated by the excellent playing German international Thomas Hässler, who simply was a one-man army for Karlsruhe. However, Hässler then got injured and was not able to play in the return leg in Germany and the rest is history. Brøndby progressed to the UEFA cup quarter-finals and the 0-5 Karlsruhe loss to Brøndby still stands as one of the absolut biggest home defeats by a Germans side in the history of the Europa Cups !.
In the mid and late 90's Norwegian Rosenborg emerged as a new giant in Scandinavian football. While the success of semi-professional IFK Göteborg was one of the reasons why Brøndby took it a step further by turning full-time professionals, then it was partly the success of Brøndby that now made Rosenborg belive in turning full-time professionals as well. In 1995/96 Rosenborg made their first big result by reaching the Champions league group stage and the very next season (1996/97) they reached the CL quarter-finals by beating Panathinaikos, AC Milan (2-1 away) and also Swedish IFK Göteborg both home and away (3-2 & 1-0). Though in the quarter-finals Rosenborg were eliminated by Juventus (1-1 & 0-2). Rosenborg managed to reach the group stage of the Champions League 11 times in 13 years between 1995 to 2007 and 8 of them were consecutive (from 1995 to 2002), which was a record until 2004, when Manchester United qualified for the group phase for a ninth successive year.
While Rosenborg relied manily on experienced Norwegian internationals and a good professional team-work, times were now changing through bigger TV-deals and more and more money to be earned in Champions League, leaving the bigger clubs from smaller leagues behind, like Rosenborg, Brøndby and the top Swedish clubs. However, newly ermerged Danish giants FC København were aware that it would now take great difficulties and huge investments to get a share of the cake, which they eventually did, leaving the other Scandinavian clubs behind both financially and in Europe. But they were also forcing other Danish clubs to invest in better players, to keep up, which made the Danish league improve in Europe and eventually secure two spots in the Champions Leauge qualifiers and even more importantly, a place in the Champions League group stage in the 2012-13 season, not having to go through qualifiers. But ironically, FC København did not manage to become Danish Champions that season, losing out to a very low budget FC Nordsjælland team, which shows that money is not everything, but that more TV-money has change everything in professional football. You just have to look at the distribution of TV-money (the so called market pool ) in Champions League from last season to understand where this is heading :
As you can see, it is mainly the big countries taking most of the TV-money (market pool ), though rich Scandinavia is also able to carve out their fairly big share, so that FC Nordsjælland, despite only collecting one point in the group stage, actually got away with a bigger market pool than Ajax and bigger clubs from countries with smaller TV-deals. So Scandinavia is not actually left hoplessly behind financially. But you obviously need to qualify for a group stage to get your share of the money, and this is now the tricky part, how much money to risk and invest, to arrive at the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
IBV Vestmannaeyjar (Ice) v Crvena zvezda (Srb), 0-0 (agg: 0-2)
Danijel Mihajlovic, Crvena zvezda (76)
Gunnar Mar Gudmundsson, IBV misuse penalty (77)
Víkingur (Far) v Petrolul Ploiesti (Rom), 0-4 (agg: 0-7)
0-1 Per Gregersen (owngoal) (4)
0-2 Hamza Younes (11)
0-3 Hamza Younes (63)
0-4 Gheorghe Grozav (77)
While St Johnstone pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the club's history by completing a surprise 2-1 aggregate win over Rosenborg, Malmö FF were writing real history by trashing Hibernian FC by 7-0 in Scotland, which is the biggest ever European home defeat in Scottish football history, just as the 0-9 on aggregate oficially is the the biggest two-legged European defeat in Scottish football history. So congrats to Malmö FF and to Sweden, because we also got some great results by Gefle IF that overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit and BK Häcken that managed to eliminate Sparta Praha ....
For Norway this 2nd qualifying round was abit up and down, with a great 3-0 away win by Strømsgodset against Debrecen and Tromsø eliminating Inter Baku, but they cant be happy about losing Rosenborg this early on, just as it was a disastrous result for Denmark to lose seeded AaB Aalborg, that btw produced no less than 27 attempts to score against Dila Gori in the return leg in Aalborg of which 18 attempts were on target, but they did not manage to score a single goal against a bravely defending Georgian team, just showing that AaB has poor depth and desperately need to find a replacement for Nicklas Helenius. This also revealed that AaB is a young team that has great trouble produce results when they are suppose to dominate and keep possession, while they do better against more attacking minded teams, like in the Superliga against FC København.
It is now all over and out in Europe this season for the Faroe Island and more surprisingly also for Finland, while Icland keep impressing, this time by Breidablik eliminating Sturm Graz, beating them 1-0 away in Austria.
2013/14 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round draw :
Randers FC (Den) v Rubin Kazan (Rus)
BK Häcken (Swe) v FC Thun (Sui)
Qarabag FK (Aze) v Gefle IF (Swe)
Swansea City (Eng) v Malmö FF (Swe)
FK Jablonec (Cze) v Strømsgodset IF (Nor) Tromsø IL (Nor) v FC Differdange 03 (Lux)
FC Aktobe (Kaz) v Breidablik (Ice)
First leg: 1 August
Second leg: 8 August
No huge surprise here, except for Tromsø facing FC Differdange from Luxembourg that bumped off Dutch FC Utrecht in the 2nd qualifying round.
Malmö FF should have been awarded a penalty against Swansea but otherwise they could not keep up with the higher pace of an English PL side
... as for FC Nordsjælland and Randers, then they did surprisingly well against their Russian opponents in open play, the problem being that these Russian teams defend rather low, Rubin Kazan even with a 5 man defense and some very fast and efficient counter attacking ... dispite possession and the general flow of play and attempts to score were rather 50/50, then the Russians simply got much better strikers, which made all the difference in these games... after a slow and too cautious start by Randers, which Rubin Kazan were quick to take advantage off, Randers then totally dominated the second half, also prouducing all but one of the attempts in the last 45 minutes, but only scoring once and striking the woodwork once, while the Rubin Kazan left back struck the Randers top bar on their only second half (long range) attempt on target, which just show that you get punished by every little mistake you do against these Russian teams, that dont really open up too much in defense, but just wait for a few opportunites to score the needed goals to progress...
2013/14 UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round ;
FC Zenit St Petersburg (Rus) v FC Nordsjælland (Den), 5-0 (agg: 6-0)
1-0 Roman Shirokov (26)
2-0 Hulk (50)
3-0 Danny (62)
4-0 Andrey Arshavin (68)
Luis Carlos Novo Neto, Zenit (72)
Nicolai Stokholm, FCN misuse penalty (74)
5-0 Roman Shirokov (90+3)
IF Elfsborg (Swe) v Celtic FC (Sco), 0-0 (agg: 0-1)
Legia Warszawa (Pol) v Molde FK (Nor), 0-0 (agg: 1-1, Legia Warszawa win on away goals)
Emmanuel Ekpo, Molde (79)
FH Hafnarfjördur (Ice) v FK Austria Wien (Aus), 0-0 (agg: 0-1)
Markus Suttner, Austria (62)
Well... that was the end of the Scandinavian teams in CL this season, except for FC København that did not have to play qualifiers, but considering that they are dead last in the Danish Superliga at the moment, they will probably not do any better than FCN did last season ...
Fortunately these Scandinavian teams will all get a second chance in the Europa League play-offs ... though FC Nordsjælland is the only team that is going to be seeded... if some people wonder how FCN are able to be seeded to progress from the play-off, considering that they have not managed a single win in Europe since 2009, it is because they qualified directly to the Champions League group stage last season, which gave them 4 bonus points on top of the only 1 point they actually gained in the group stage ... but in qualifiers you only get 1 point for each win, so FCN's 1 point + 4 bonus points = 5 wins in the qualifiers when their seeding is calculated...so despite the fact that FCN have performed rather terrible in Europe in the past, they are still going to get seeded.
2013/14 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round :
Rubin Kazan (Rus) v Randers FC (Den), 2-0 (agg: 4-1)
1-0 César Navas (18)
2-0 Roman Eremenko (86)
FC Thun (Sui) v BK Häcken (Swe) 1-0 (agg: 3-1)
1-0 Sekou Junior Sanogo (69)
Gefle IF (Swe) v Qarabag FK (Aze), 0-2 (agg: 0-3)
0-1 Marinaldo Cicero da Silva (41)
0-2 Reynaldo (50)
Malmö FF (Swe) v Swansea City (Eng), 0-0 (agg: 0-4)
Strømsgodset IF (Nor) v FK Jablonec (Cze), 1-3 (agg: 2-5)
1-0 Michal Hubnik (16)
1-1 Ola Kamara (71)
1-2 Ondrej Vanek (81)
1-3 Karel Pitak (90)
FC Differdange 03 (Lux) v Tromsø IL (Nor), 1-0 AET (agg: 1-1, Pen:3-4, Tromsø win on penalties)
1-0 Er Rafik (46)
Thomas Drage, Tromsø misuse penalty
1-0 Gauthier Caron
1-1 Zdeněk Ondrášek
Mathias Jänisch, Differdange misuse penalty
1-2 Remi Johansen
2-2 Geoffrey Franzoni
2-3 Josh Pritchard
3-3 Antonio Luisi
3-4 Steffen Nystrøm
Philippe Lebresne, Differdange misuse penalty
Breidablik (Ice) v FC Aktobe (Kaz), 1-0 AET (agg: 1-1, Pen:1-2, FC Aktobe win on penalties)
1-0 Finnur Orri Margeirsson (27)
Ingason, Breidablik misuse penalty
Badlo, Aktobe misuse penalty
Lydsson, Breidablik misuse penalty
Khayrullin, Aktobe misuse penalty
K. Jónsson, Breidablik misuse penalty
Troost, Breidablik misuse penalty
Not much to cheer about in this third qualifying round considering that only Tromsø managed to progress to the play-offs and even were in need of a penalty shoot-out to get past Differdange from Luxembourg... on a positive note, Iceland have been doing great this season, with FH Hafnarfjördur reaching the Europa League play-offs and Breidablik only missing out by losing on penalties.
We are sure to get either Elfsborg or FC Nordsjælland in the group stage, but otherwise Tromsø may surprisingly be our biggest hope, considering that the last and only time they managed to qualify for a group stage, they also won on penalties in the qualifying round, and then went on to eliminate a Turkish side (Galatasaray ) in the play-offs... so hopefully this is a bit of history repeating....
Elfsborg have only twice faced other Scandinavian teams in the Europa Cups, in 2012 they were soundly beaten by Aalesunds from Norway, while they got eliminated by Danish AC Horsens last season... the best FC Nordsjælland result in Europe was when they beat Scottish Queen of the South both home and away back in 2009, but since then they have only managed a 0-0 result against Sporting CP and the 1-1 result at home against Juventus in CL last season, though it should be said that they have also faced some very tough opponents.... FCN have been looking terrible in the Danish Superliga and in Europe so far this season, so perhaps they need to pin their hopes on the fact that AC Horsens were heading for relegation from the Superliga when they managed to eliminate Elfsborg last season.
Saint-Étienne do not get to play all that often in Europe, but they have won all their games against Nordic teams so far in the history of the Europa Cups, and the last time they played in Europe (in 2009 ), they beat both Rosenborg and FC København in the Europa League group stage... Esbjerg have never faced a French side in the Europa Cups, but they did manage to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Intertoto Cup by eliminating French side Nice back in 2004.
Molde managed to eliminate CSKA Moscow in the CL qualifiers when they reached the group stage back in 2000, but this is 2013 and their Russian opponent Rubin Kazan reached the EL quarter-finals last season, and also looked too strong against an otherwise well playing Randers FC team this season... So a very strong opponent for Molde I'm sad to say.
Hafnarfjördur have never faced a Belgium team before in the Europa Cups, while Racing Genk has never faced an Icelandic side, but obviously Genk is huge favorite to progress.
So... Saint-Etienne will play Esbjerg in Europa League. Anyone here could talk about this club?
I've just heard of the name, but I know nothing about it. Thanks in advance
Regarding Esbjerg as such, then they won promotion to the Danish Superliga last year and did surprisingly well by finishing in 4th place...
It's a very young team that they have mainly build while playing in the Danish 1. Division, but they have also done well on the transfermarket.... and some of their yong players have been called up for the Danish NT of lately ... striker/winger Martin Braithwaite,centre back Kian Hansen and right back Peter Ankersen, while also their keeper Frederik Rønnow is regarded to be among the very best keepers in the Superliga, despite his young age, so clearly it is their defense that was the main key to their success last season, when they defensively were the best in the league by only letting in 32 goals in 33 games. ... But obviously they have no Europa Cup experience.
Esbjerg fB (Den) v AS Saint-Étienne (Fra), 4-3
0-1 Franck Tabanou (22)
1-1 Peter Ankersen (26)
1-2 Romain Hamouma (42)
2-2 Mick van Buren (64)
2-3 Loïc Perrin (70)
3-3 Hans Henrik Andreasen (75)
4-3 Peter Ankersen (80)
IF Elfsborg (Swe) v FC Nordsjælland (Den), 1-1
0-1 Morten Nordstrand (34)
1-1 Johan Larsson (74)
Tromsø IL (Nor) v Besiktas (Tur), 2-1
0-1 Hugo Almeida (10)
1-1 Thomas Kind Bendiksen (Penalty) (49)
2-1 Josh Pritchard (69)
Molde FK (Nor) v Rubin Kazan (Rus), 0-2
0-1 Jose Salomon Rondon (21)
0-2 Jose Salomon Rondon (90)
FH Hafnarfjördur (Ice) v Racing Genk (Bel), 0-2
0-1 Jelle Vossen (44)
0-2 Sam Tillen (owngoal) (79)
Last season Saint-Étienne and Esbjerg only let in 32 goals in their respective leagues, so you would expect a rather low-scoring game between to defensively and tactically solid teams. However, league games are one thing while cup games are something completely different because you need a home result, and when the opponent manage to score an away goal or two, you need a win, so when Saint-Étienne used their very first free-kick opportunity to take the lead in the first half and Esbjerg did the very same a few minutes later, it completely changed the Esbjerg game plan for the second half. But it was still a defender who impressed the most, considering that it was the young highly talented Esbjerg right back Peter Ankersen who managed to score two excellent goals for the home team in this highly entertaining match. Still, neither the Esbjerg coach or Saint-Étienne coach Christophe Galtier were all too happy about their defending, also considering that an Esbjerg attempt struck the woodwork at the end and there could have been even more goals, but as written, then you often need to change the tactical approach in cup games.
The match between Elfsborg and FC Nordsjælland was played on a wet artificial turf that made the ball very difficult to handle, so the Elfsborg players were mainly trying to bully their opponents physically, which the Spanish referee did not really allow and the match became a study in the difference between a fast moving physical game and quick foot speed, because FCN showed that they through better passing technique and quicker foot speed easily were able to get Elfsborg in trouble every time they were able to just string 3-4 passes together in midfield, while Elfsborg mainly looked dangeruos at corner kicks and set pieces, though the by far best Elfsborg player and big star of the match for the home team was the highly attacking minded right back Johan Larsson. He is surely going to attract big interest from abroad after his performance in this match, while it was easy to see that FCN is still a "work in progress", that lack the last bit of quality in defense and at the last ball in attack.... the return leg is also going to be played on artificial turf in Denmark, but a different kind of artificial turf that should be an advantage for FC Nordsjælland and their quicker foot speed.