(Translated by Thomas Snaith)
FCB have to survive three rounds if they want to reach their goal of qualifying for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. Due to the time pressure, these three rounds will all be played in knockout mode. Rot-Blau can reach their goal of qualifying for the group stage by winning three games. In the past, FCB needed at least four or even six games to qualify for a European group stage. Of course, in the European Cup in particular, it is unusual and somewhat strange if you don't have to compete in second leg fixtures. There is a lot at stake at the start of this season, especially as Ciriaco Sforza will be in charge of his 1st professional fixture as new FCB coach.
OSIJEK IS DANGEROUS ON THE COUNTER ATTACKS AND PHYSICALLY VERY STRONG.
NK Osijek finished fourth in the Croatian league. Since the club was founded, the NK Osijek has always played in the highest Croatian league, but has never made it all the way to the top. The club's greatest success was winning the cup in 1999. This season, four rounds have already been played and Osijek´s next opponent is FCB. Last weekend, after a draw and two defeats, they won their first fixture of the current season. NK Osijek beat the 2017 champions, HNK Rijeka, 3-0.
In Croatia the 2019/2020 season ended at the end of July, therefore the Croatian teams had around one and a half months to prepare for the current season. FCB on the other hand only had two and a half weeks between seasons and was only able to squeeze in one test match under new coach Sforza (1: 5 against 1. FC Saarbrücken). On Thursday evening in the Gradski vrt stadium there will be two teams with two different levels of preparation. The Croatians have a slight advantage as they will be playing on home turf.
THE RESULT OF THE TEST match DOES NOT MATTER ahead the fixture IN OSIJEK.
There were definitely easier starts to the season for Rod-Blau in the past, where there was not as much at stake. As a quarter-finalist in this competition last season, Rot Blau certainly doesn't have to hide. Basel played a great campaign only suffering two defeats in eleven Europa League fixtures. Now everything is starting from scratch and as special as the previous European Cup season ended, the new one is about to begin. Injured Elis Isufi, Yannick Marchand, Taulant Xhaka and Luca Zuffi will not be there to kick off the the season in Croatia.