Preview: 2014/15 UEFA Europa League – Third Qualifying Round
It’s always quite difficult to weight a Turkish team different from the big ones: maybe Rosenborg is a little bit favorite, but the tie looks quite open.
Chernomorets Odessa-RNK Split 60%-40%
Chernomorets, that last year played in EL Group Stage, should be a bit stronger, but an upset in this tie wouldn’t surprise me that much, because this Croatian side is quite solid.
St.Johnstone-Spartak Trnava 50%-50%
A match between two teams that have very loyal fans, and I like both of them, but unluckly one of them will end its campaign here.
Spartak Trnava could be a little be stronger, but St. Johnstone has been very regular in Europe in the last two Season: it should be a very balanced tie.
Mainz-Asteras Tripolis 55%-45%
Of course the German team is stronger and is favorite, but I think that a surprise wouldn’t be impossible in this tie: Mainz has to be very careful.
Diosgyor is one of the best supported teams in Hungary, but I think that they’ll stand very few chances against the strong Russians: FK Krasnodar will definetly be the unseeded team absolutetly to avoid in EL PO draw.
Mlada Boleslav-Lyon 35%-65%
This OL is maybe one of the weakest of its recent brilliant history, but should be able to qualify without many troubles, but not to dominate.
Trencin-Hull City 35%-65%
Before the EL QR2 Second Leg I thought that this Slovak side could have caused few troubles even to aN English Premier League team, also considering that they defeated IFK Goteborg last Season, but after they were crashed 3-0 away by FK Vojvodina, in my opinion they look too unpredictable to have few chances to qualify, even if Hull City isn’t a top English team.
Omonia Nicosia-Metalurg Skopje 60%-40%
Omonia should be favorite, but Metalurgs, that can already consider his European campaign as a positive one, isn’t already out.
At the end of last Serie A I had several doubts about Torino reching EL GS: I still have few ones, but they are building a more then decent team despite losing Immobile (he was perfect for Torino’s style of play but he’s not that strong imo), and they’re enlarging their squad: they should have no problem against Brommapojkarna, but they don’t have to underestimate the Swedish team, that has a better athletical condition.
PSV Eindhoven-St.Polten 65%-35%
I think that PSV would have experienced big troubles against Grodig, but a second tier Austrian team shouldn’t be strong enough to threaten the Dutch side, that anyway won’t be able to dominate in my opinion.
Stjarnan-Lech Poznan 30%-70%
Icelandic teams can be never taken easily, and Stjarnan in one of the hardest of them, but the Polish team looks (much) stronger. Anyway Lech Poznan last season was kicked out by a Lithuanian side, and in the last Round lost 1-0 away to Nomme Kalju from Estonia and looks quite unpredictable, so Stjarnan could have few chances against a Lech Poznan like those ones.
Zorya Lugansk-Molde 50%-50%
I’m not sure how to evaluate Zorya, but I think that this could be a quite open and balanced tie.
Atromitos has been quite solid and has consolidated in the top positions of Greek Super League since two years ago, and is probably stronger, but I think that Sarajevo has good chances to win this tie.
Real Sociedad-Aberdeen 60%-40%
Aberdeen looks a quite solid team with a very good support from its fans, but Real Sociedad is probably too strong for them, anyway a surprise isn’t unthikable.
AIK is probably a little bit stronger, but FK Astana looks quite solid, as all the Kazak teams in this European campaign. I’ll go for the surprise.
Zulte Waregem-Shakhtyor Soligorsk 65%-35%
Belarussian teams can always cause troubles, but Zulte should be able to advance.
Grodig-Zimbru Chisinau 70%-30%
The most historical Moldovan team (of course not the most successful one) vs an emerging Austrian one.
I’d choose the second one: anyway Grodig’s big victory in the previous Round was affected by an early read card showed to a Cukaricki’s player, so Zimbru can’t be considered already out.
Astra Giurgiu-Slovan Liberec 55%-45%
It’s a very balanced and open tie: Astra is consolidating in the top positions of Romanian football, while Slovan Liberec is always a very solid team, that last Season performed very well in EL. I really can’t choose a favorite team, maybe Astra could cause a surprise, but that wouldn’t be a real one.
Ruch Chorzow-Esbjerg 45%-55%
Esbjerg last year surprised both in EL PO and in EL GS, but now there’s the difficult part: they have to confirm themselves, while I don’t see Ruch Chorzow in the next EL GS. Anyway it should be a quite open tie, with the Danish side slightly favorite.
Dinamo Moskva-Shmona 70%-30%
Normally this tie should have nothing to say, but it’s true that Dinamo recently isn’t loving Qualifying Stages.
Young Boys-Ermis 65%-35%
Team from Cyprus can never be underestimated, but I give Toung Boys much more chances to qualify.
Elfsborg-FH Hafnarfjordur 55%-45%
The Swedish side is a little bit favorite, but FH is probably the thoughest Icelandic club in Europe and always fight hard. Elfsborg didn’t impress in the last Round (they qualified just after PKs despite Inter Baku had played down to 10 men for 115’ in the Second Leg) and in last EL GS, while FH two years ago was just narrowly defeated by AIK: this tie could be more open than one usually can think.
Petrolul Ploiesti-Viktoria Plzen 50%-50%
This probably has been one of the most infamous draw: both teams have nice stadiums, good fans, high attendances and quite strong squads. Everybody knows how good Viktoria Plzen have performed in Europe and in Czech league since 2010, while Petrolul is emerging and consolidating in top position of Romanian football, and has very good players, but is quite unlucky in the draws.
Very open tie.
Vikingur Gota-Rijeka 10%-90%
Vikingur can already be extremely happy to be here, and they play a more open football than other Faroese teams: anyway Rijeka is probably too strong for them to think to advance.
Dinamo Minsk-CFR Cluj 50%-50%
Few years ago CFR Cluji would have been clearly favorite, but this team looks weaker: anything can happen.
Neftci Baku-Chikhura Sachkhere 55%-45%
Chikura Sachkere created one of the biggest upsets of the previous Round, defeating Bursaspor from Turkey after PKs, and they could be the new Dila Gori. Neftci Baku is probably slightly stronger, but the tie is quite open.
IFK Goteborg-Rio Ave 60%-40%
IFK Goteborg is very unpredictable in Qualifying Rounds, but Portuguese teams, different from the big ones, are as well: it’s a very difficult tie to forecast.
Club Bruges-Brondby 50%-50%
Another very infamous draw, as Viktoria Plzen-Petrolul both teams have nice stadiums, high attendances and quite strong squads.
Brondby is raising again after a couple of very negative years of financial troubles and bad places in Danish SuperLiga, while Club Bruges has probably been stronger in previous years: it should be a very open tie.
Shakhter Karagandy-Hajduk Split 50%-50%
Shakhter last year had a very good European campaign, and this season is confirming the improvements of Kazak teams, while Hajduk is maybe a bit stronger, but is a very young and very unpredictable team: anything can happen.