Europa League Preview: SK Brann -v- Shamrock Rovers

Thu, Jul 11 2019

Jack Byrne will prove key in any possible Europa League run for the Hoops Credit: John-Paul McGinley (ETPhotos)

SK BRANN

Norwegian side SK Brann welcome Irish opposition to Bergen for the first time since 1996 in the Europa League First Qualifying Round (kick-off is at 6pm).

Brann’s last Irish opponents were Shelbourne in the 1996-97 European Cup Winners Cup where the three-time Norwegian champions eased past the Reds by a score line of 5-2 on aggregate.

Brann qualified for the Europa League by virtue of their third-place finish in last season’s Eltiserien, coming six points behind eventual champions Rosenborg.

However, Lars Arne Nilsen’s side have struggled to replicate their 2018 form as they lie currently sixth in this year’ Norwegian top-flight.

Speaking ahead of the game with his club’s media team, Nilsen admits his side will give the Hoops a ‘tough fight’.    

“It will be a fierce battle. Shamrock is a typical physically strong Irish fighter team; at the same time, they are a good playing team. 

“They play on many strings and are one of Ireland's best teams. We'll give them a tough fight. We have to play the best match this year to take them.

We have a bigger energy towards the Europa League, and in my opinion, we have a better team now than two years ago. We look forward to playing and we really want to go further.”

SHAMROCK ROVERS

After a strong showing against AIK last term with no progression, Shamrock Rovers will look to go at least one step further than 2018 in their Europa League Qualifying campaign.

The Hoops were edged out on aggregate last term against their Swedish opposition despite winning at the Friends Arena in Stockholm during normal time.

Stephen Bradley’s side have since built on their near miss last term with the acquisition of Jack Byrne, Neil Farrugia and Aaron McEneff boosting their chances.

Brann, while they will pose threats to Rovers, Head Coach Bradley is confident his side can progress past the Norwegian’s – with a win both home and away

“We know they’re a good side and playing at a good level,” the Hoops boss told his club’s media team.

“They have a lot of strengths, but we know their weaknesses as well and we’ll try and exploit them.

“Home or away we’ll give them respect but I feel that we can go and win the game over there.

“We flew over on Tuesday to give us time to make sure everything is ready for Thursday.

“Everyone will travel, including Neil Farrugia and Aaron McEneff. Aaron is back training and will be available for selection.”

Referee: Juxhin Xjaga (Albania).

 

MATCH STATS

Shamrock Rovers have won one of their last five league games, with their most recent win coming over St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.

This will be the second time the sides have met in recent years following the visit of Brann to Dublin in 2015 for a friendly. The Hoops edged past the Norwegians on that occasion by three goals to two.

Brann are winless in their past three games, scoring once and conceding five times in their most recent 270 minutes of competitive action.

BETTING

SK Brann 8/15; Draw 5/2; Shamrock Rovers 9/2.

PREDICTION

SK Brann 1 - 1 Shamrock Rovers.

 

SK Brann

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

 

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.