Following a shock 2-0 win away from home against FC Vaduz, Hibernians will be all out to repeat themselves on Thursday as they take on MOL Fehérvár of Hungary in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League at the Centenary Stadium, kick-off at 19:00.
Before the clash with Vaduz, the Paolites were definitely the underdogs but a brace by Jurgen Degabriele handed them an impressive win in Liechtenstein despite playing for half an hour in ten men.
Against MOL Fehérvár, earlier known as Videoton, Hibernians will start once again as the underdogs.
The Hungarian club was founded in 1941 and is based in Székesfehérvár. Throughout the years, Fehérvár changed their name various times and are better known as Videoton FC and more recently as MOL Vidi FC.
Fehérvár won the championship three times – the last being in 2017/18, finishing in the runner-up spot eight times. They won the Hungarian Cup twice, the League Cup three times and the Super Cup twice. The most successful period in Fehérvár/Videoton’s history came in the mid-1980s when Ferenc Kovács led the club to the final of the UEFA Cup in 1985. Recently, they managed to reach the group stages of the Europa League in the 2012/13 season.
This is the second time, Fehérvár were drawn with a Maltese club as in 2017, they were paired with Balzan. MOL Vidi qualified thanks to a 5-3 aggregate win with Balzan holding them in a 3-3 draw at the Hibernians Stadium.
Last season, Fehérvár finished second in the Hungarian league last season thirteen points behind champions Ferencvaros. In the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, they hosted Bohemians of Ireland, defeating them on penalties following a 1-1 draw at the end of the ninety minutes and extra-time.
They opened their league commitments this season with two draws but bounced back with two wins to move top. Ferencvaros and Puskas, however, have a game in hand.
Fehérvár arrived in Malta on Wednesday afternoon and announced that they will be reporting to UEFA the fact that their players and staff were tested for COVID-19 at the Malta International Airport, despite presenting negative certificates.
On Monday, Fehérvár had a player testing positive while coach Gabor Marton’s result was described as “dubious”. However, prior to their departure, Marton obtained a negative result and was therefore able to fly with the rest of the contingent.
After being sent off in Vaduz, Hibernians coach Stefano Sanderra could not count on the suspended Bjorn Kristensen but otherwise, they should be in full strength.
Reaching the third qualifying round of a European competition would be a first for the club. Before the success over Vaduz, they had qualifying for a second round on two occasions, eliminating Shelbourne of Ireland in 2002 and FCI Tallinn of Estonia in 2017.
Qualifying round matches are being played in single legs and therefore, extra time and a penalty shoot-out will determine the winner if necessary. The winner advances to the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round where they would host Stade de Reims of France or Servette of Switzerland.