Wanderers host Ferencvaros in UEFA Europa League qualifier

UEFA-Europa-LeagueSliema Wanderers will be the first team to get into action in Europe this summer as they host Hungarian giants Ferencváros in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round at the National Stadium on Tuesday, kick-off at 17:45.

It will definitely be a difficult task for Alfonso Greco’s side as they take on a team which placed third in the NB I (the Hungarian First Division) on 57 points, five behind champions Debreceni and runners-up Győr, who both ended their commitments on 62 points.

Since the end of last season, the Blues secured the services of three new players – Malta international striker Michael Mifsud, Italian defender Filippo Andrea Scozzese – formerly of Valletta and Gudja United – and Serbian midfielder Marko Potezica – formerly of Lija Athletic, Mqabba and Tarxien Rainbows.

The club also signed a Libyan striker Ahmed Salama while a number of players who were on loan with other clubs, including Josef Mifsud, Luca Martinelli, Ryan Dalli and Miguel Ciantar are back with the club.

On the other hand, Matias Muchardi has joined Zebbug Rangers while Abubakar Bello-Osagie and Jacob Borg are no longer with the club.

FerencvarosFerencvárosi Torna Club is the most successful Hungarian team on both home and international turf. They won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1964-65 and reached the final of the Cup Winners CUp in 1974/75. They won the Championship (NB I) 28 times and the Hungarian Cup 20 times. Ferencváros participated in all the first division championships since the start of Hungarian Football Championships in 1901 until the 2006/07 season in which they were relegated to the NB II for not meeting financial criteria. The team returned to the first Hungarian League after three years in the second division.

This is Ferencvárosi’s third visit to Malta to play in a UEFA competition after meeting Floriana in the Cup Winners Cup in 1972, losing 1-0 at The Stadium and beating them 6-0 at home and beating Birkirkara 5-0 at Ta’ Qali and 1-0 at home behind closed doors in the UEFA Cup in 2003.

In recent years, Ferencvaros’ best run in European competitions was in the 2004/05. They took part in the UEFA Champions League, eliminating FK Tirana but losing to Sparta Prague. Then they took part in the UEFA Cup, eliminating Milwall but in the group stage featuring Feyenoord, Schalke, Basel and Hearts, they finished fourth.

The winner of the two-legged clash between Sliema Wanderers and Ferencvárosi TC will be meeting the winner of the clash between HNK Rijeka of Croatia.