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Europa League: Ronald Koeman set for Vitesse reunion

30 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Europa League: Ronald Koeman set for Vitesse reunion

A host of established sides begin their European campaigns and are unlikely to encounter much trouble in their third qualifying round ties

4/11 – Southampton (win) v Vitesse

Four years on from playing League One football, a sell-out crowd at St Mary’s is expected as Southampton begin their European campaign against manager Ronald Koeman’s former club. Having lost several key players for the second summer in succession, the Saints are boosted by the return of striker Jay Rodriguez, who could start for the first time since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in April 2014. Peter Bosz, the visitors’ talented manager, is renowned for his attacking football – a tactic which could play right into hosts’ hands.

8/15 – West Ham (win) v Astra Giurgiu

James Tomkins is suspended following his red card against Birkirkara, although the Hammers are set to give a full debut to exciting attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet, who joined the club from Marseille in the summer for around £12million. Sixteen-year-old Reece Oxford is also likely to start. Nine days shy of the new Premier League season, boss Slaven Bilic will be expecting a better performance from his players than last week, where penalties were required penalties to edge out their Maltese opposition. He is likely to get it.

21/20 – Târgu-Mureș v St Etienne (win)

The French side head to Transylvania looking to avoid the same fate as their domestic rivals Lyon, who were eliminated from the Europa League by the Romanian outfit Astra 12 months ago. Manager Christophe Galtier’s side should be too strong for the hosts, though, who are making their European debuts after finishing as league runners-up in 2014/15.

4/11 – Sampdoria (win) v Vojvodina

Former Italy and Inter Milan goalkeeper Walter Zenga takes charge of the home side for the first time since replacing Siniša Mihajlović in the summer. The much-travelled manager is no stranger to Serbian football – the country of their opponents – having managed Red Star Belgrade to a league and cup double a decade ago. The club, who only returned to Europe after Genoa – who finished above them in Serie A – were unable to attain a UEFA licence, should be comfortable winners at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

1/5 – Wolfsberg v Borussia Dortmund (win)

The fortunes of the German giants have changed dramatically since Jürgen Klopp guided them to the Champions League final little more than two years ago. Qualification for Europe’s secondary club competition was achieved despite an underwhelming 2014/15, and it will be interesting to see how new manager Thomas Tuchel sets his team out for his first game in charge. Adjusting to his possession-based tactics may take time, but BVB are likely to have more than enough to overcome their Austrian opponents, who are making their debuts in the competition.

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