FC Zurich will play their compulsory game against Linfield in the penultimate stage of the Europa League group stage in Belfast. Basel visit Bröndby near Copenhagen in the 3rd round of qualification for the Conference League, while the Young Boys visit Kuopio PS in Finland. Cup winner Lugano is the only Swiss club to enjoy home rights first. The Ticino intervene against Hapoel Be’er Sheva. FC Vaduz welcomes Konyaspor from Turkey.
After losing the Champions League qualifier against Karabakh, FCZ can secure a European Cup ticket early against the semi-professionals Linfield FC. If Zurich, who is still without a win under coach Franco Foda, prevails, they are in the playoffs. If they lose to Heart of Midlothian there, they move on to the group stage of the Conference League. If the FCZ asserts itself in both rounds, it qualifies for the Europa League. The new striker Donis Avdijaj is also on the FCZ player list.
Zurich are the clear favorites against Linfield, but the side should not underestimate the semi-professionals from Northern Ireland. Basel, for example, had an unexpectedly difficult time against Linfield’s league rivals Crusaders in the last round and after a 2-0 win in the first leg they only drew 1-1 in Belfast. The Crusaders finished 4th last season, Linfield is the champion.
That FC Basel has to overcome the biggest hurdle in the 3rd qualifying round with Brondby. Whereby the fourth of the Danish Superligaen has not yet found its form this season. In the current championship, the team with former Basel player Blas Riveros lost twice in a row. Andi Zeqiri, who had just been signed, received permission to play in good time and traveled to Copenhagen – in contrast to Andy Pelmard. The defender was late for the departure meeting point and was dropped from the squad by coach Alex Frei as a result.
The Young Boys’ path to European business leads on Thursday to Turku in the European Cup exile of Kuopio PS, last year’s second and current table leader in Finland. In the team of the YB opponent, the defender Musah Nuhu, loaned from St. Gallen, made his debut on Sunday in the 1: 2 against Haka. With a view to the YB match, coach Simo Valakari spared several regulars in the second defeat in the 16th league game.
Lugano already knows their opponent Hapoel Be’er Sheva from the encounters five years ago in the group stage of the Europa League. At that time, the home team prevailed by a goal difference. Only Mattia Bottani and Jonathan Sabbatini played for the Luganesi against Be’er Sheva in 2017, Fabio Daprelà was injured.