Three Romanian football teams on Thursday play their fixtures in Europa League’s third preliminary round. All first-leg matches are scheduled away from home. Opening up the list are Romanian title holders CFR Cluj who travel to Yerevan for a match against defending Armenian champions Alashkert. The match kick-starts at 7 pm.
CFR ranks as favorites, yet the host team are ambitious are can really cause the Romanians serious problems. If they win the double-legged tie against Alashkert, CFR take on the winner of the match pitting Polish side Legia Warsaw against Luxembourg contenders Dudelange, in the competition’s ply-off stage.
Another Romanian team, Universitatea Craiova, face German opponents RB Leipzig, starting 730 pm. It is the hardest confrontation for a Romanian team, in this stage of the competition, all the more so as Craiova’s record in recent matches has proved unconvincing. We recall that after three rounds in the domestic championship Universitatea are 12-th ranked, that is third-from the bottom team, with no win on their record sheet so far. If, miraculously, Universitatea edge RP Leipzig out of the competition, in Europa League’s playoffs, they take on the winner of the match pitting Ukrainian side Zorya Lugansk against Portuguese team Braga.
Romania’s vice-champions FCSB are in for a hard yet not impossible task. Starting 9:45 pm, Nicolae Dica’s trainees face Croatian side Hajduk Split. We recall that in the Champions League’s group stage way back in 1994, when FCSB were known as Steaua, Hajduk grabbed a 1-nil win in Bucharest , while in Split, Steaua snatched a 4-1 win. The team that makes headway into the competition, in the playoff stage takes on Slovakian side Slovan Bratislava or Rapid Vienna of Austria.