Europa/ Conference League Matchday 4 Preview

Following a week after their first meetings, matchday sees a re-run of the matchday three fixtures with important points up for grabs for the Bundesliga’s European hopefuls.

Thursday 13th October

Europa League

Nantes v Freiburg

Freiburg maintained their 100% record in the Europa League last with in the absence of coach Christian Streich, whose positive Covid test ruled him out of the tie with French side Nantes. The 2-0 win for the Breisgauer means they join Real Betis, Union St. Gilloise and Real Sociedad as the only team with three wins from three matches.

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Freiburg have shown no signs of their European adventures impacting on their league form and a 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin on Sunday saw them maintain second spot in the Bundesliga.

Nantes on the other hand seem to be in freefall at the moment. They find themselves second from bottom of Ligue 1 and were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Rennes at the weekend in the derby.

Player to watch:

Whilst the team as a whole are not playing well at the moment and struggling both at home and in Europe, it is worth Freiburg keeping an eye out for midfielder Ludovic Blas, who was arguably Nantes’s best player last week. He’s scored once and is also one the club’s most consistent performers in Ligue 1 thus far.

Union Berlin v Malmö

The headlines last week were all made by the off-field events that led to the players being taken off by the referee and the match under threat of being abandoned. Fireworks and flares fired into rival groups of fans whilst riot police were called in to restore order in the stands at the Eleda Stadium.

Union actually went on the win the match thanks to 68th minute goal by Sheraldo Becker despite having had Hungarian midfielder Andras Schäfer sent off earlier in the match. The result left Malmo pointless and bottom of Group D, while Union sit third with three points.

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At the weekend, a 1-0 over VfB Stuttgart saw Union maintain their position at the top of the Bundesliga, while Malmö were held at home on Sunday by IFK Vaernamo to see them lie sixth in the Allsvenskan.

The hope is that Thursday’s encounter at the Stadion an Der alten Försterei will pass of safely and that the headlines are made on the pitch not in the stands.

Player to watch:

Of the front three last week it was 32-year-old Dane Anders Christiansen who looked the more dangerous for Malmö. With a need for points getting more urgent, he may be prominent again this week as the Swedes push forward looking for goals.

Conference League

Partizan v Köln

Like the match in Berlin, the hope is that the match between Partizan and Köln in Belgrade passes off without unsavoury incidents in the stands taking away from the football. The match in the Domstadt last week didn’t go to plan for Steffen Baumgart as his squad rotation backfired and the Serbians secured a 1-0 win thanks to Svetozar Markovic’s early goal.

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Partizan notched up their fifth consecutive win in the Serbian Super League at the weekend with a 4-0 victory over Vozdovac, while Köln were well beaten by rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Rheinderby. They will be super keen not to make it three defeats in a row as they travel to the Partizan Stadium, where a warm (hot) reception awaits them.

Player to watch:

Cabo Verde striker Ricardo Jorge Pires Gomes is the Serbian league joint-top scorer with ten goals and the club would love to see that form transferred over to the Conference League. He knows where the goal is, so Köln need to be wary of the 30-year-old.

About Mathew Burt 1047 Articles
Former writer at and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball