First team

A look at our potential UECL Q3 opponents

24 July 2023

Fenerbache SK


One of the giants of Turkish football, with 28 league titles, seven Turkish Cups and nine Turkish Super Cups to their name.


They play their games at the 47,834 capacity Sukru Saracoglu Stadium and finished 2nd in last season’s Turkish Super Lig.


Head Coach Ismail Kartal is a former Fenerbahce stalwart as a player and well-travelled on the managerial scene in Turkey.


The Yellow Canaries boast an impressive squad with the likes of Edin Dzeko, Dusan Tadic and  Michy Batshuayi swelling their ranks, as well as summer signing from Rangers, Ryan Kent.




FC Zimbru Chisinau


Based in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, ‘Zimbru’ are eight-time winners of their national league.


The 10,400 capacity Zimbru Stadium is where Zimbru call home. They finished third in last season’s Moldovan Super Liga, which saw the Yellow-Greens enter the UECL qualifying at round one, where they edged out La Fiorita of San Marino 2-1.


Their most recent jaunt into Europe was in 2016/17, reaching Q2 of the Europa League before falling to Turkish side Osmanlispor. Two years previously saw Zimbru’s best ever European run, navigating two qualifying rounds of the Europa League to reach the play-offs but were defeated by Greek outfit PAOK.




Club Brugge


The Belgians are the top seeded side in the whole of Q3. Unsurprisingly based in the city of Bruges, they play at the 29,062 capacity Jan Breydel Stadium.


A familiar face in former Celtic manager Ronny Deila occupies the hotseat and they finished fourth in last season’s Belgian Pro League.


18-time Belgian champions, and as recent as a year ago, they are one of the powerhouses of the Belgian game.


Their squad is littered with international players, with Scotland defender Jack Hendry perhaps the most recognisable on these shores.




AGF Aarhus


The Danish side hail from Aarus, Denmark’s second largest city, and play at Ceres Park which holds 19,433.


Their head coach is former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler and finished third in last season’s Danish Superliga.


They are five-time champions of Denmark and have lifted the Danish Cup nine times.


This is their second appearance in UECL qualifying; two years ago saw them eliminated by Northern Irish side Larne 3-2 in Q2.




FC Twente


Based in the city of Enchede, the Dutch side run out at the 30,025 capacity De Grolsch Veste stadium.


They lifted their solitary Eredivisie title under Steve McLaren in 2009/10 and have won their national cup three times.


A fifth-placed finish in last season’s Dutch top flight saw them head into the European play-offs, which they one by beating Sparta Rotterdam in the final, ensuring qualification for this year’s UECL


Twente’s most famous European run came in 1974/75 when they reached the UEFA Cup Final, which they lost 5-1 over two legs to German side Borussia Monchengladbach.




Hammarby Fotboll


Stockholm-based Hammarby are part-owned by Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.


Turning out at the 33,000 capacity Tele2 Arena, they finished third in last season’s Allsvenskan.


They have lifted the league title once in their history, back in 2001, and were 2020/21 national cup winners.


In 1985 they beat St Mirren 5-4 on aggregate to reach the third round of the UEFA Cup. Their most recent experience of European football came in 2021/22, losing on penalties to Swiss side Basel in the UECL play-off round.




HNK Rijeka

The third-most successful club in Croatia, HNK are based in Rijeka, the third-largest city in Croatia.


Their Croatian First League title was clinched in 2016/17 and they have six Croatian Cups under their belt, along with one Croatian Super Cup.


Rijeka have appeared in European competitions on 22 occasions, with their best run coming in the form of a Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final defeat to Juventus in 1978/79.


In recent years they have locked horns with Aberdeen on the European stage. The Dons ran our 5-2 winners in Europa League qualifying in 2015, while Rijeka got revenge in 2019, winning 4-0 in Q3 of the Europa League.




KF Dukagjini


This marks Dukagjini’s first appearance in European football, thanks to last season’s fourth-place finish in the Kosovo Superleague.


They successfully navigated Q1 of the UECL last week by beating Europa of Gibraltar 5-3 on aggregate.


‘The Nettles’ are based in the Kosovan town of Klina, in the north-west part of the country.




Crusaders FC


Belfast-based Crusaders play at 6,000 capacity Seaview stadium. Manager Stephen Baxter is currently the longest serving manager of one club in world football, having been in position at The Crues since 2005.


They have won the top flight seven times, Irish Cup six times and League Cup twice.


Last season saw them finish 5th in the NIFL Premiership and with that they earned a place in Q1 of the UECL, where last week they saw off Finnish side Haka 3-2 on aggregate to reach Q2.


They made it as far as Q2 in last season’s UECL, losing out 3-1 on aggregate to Basel.




Rosenborg BK


Norway’s most successful club with 26 league titles, 12 Norwegian Cups and more UEFA matches than any other side under their belt.


Based in Trondheim, they play their matches at the 21,421 capacity Lerkendal Stadion.


Last season saw a third place finish in the Norwegian Eliteserien, finishing 22 points off champions Molde. They recently parted ways with manager Kjetil Rekdal and have appointed Svein Maalen as interim.


Their last appearance in Europe was in 2021/22 where they reached the UECL play-offs but were beaten 5-1 on aggregate by French side Rennes.