Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
Koln and Partizan go head to head at RheinEnergieStadion in what will be their first meeting in European competitions since 1974. Back then Koln won the UEFA Cup double-header against Partizan, and the Billy Goats are seen as favourites to pick up all three points from Thursday’s clash. The Bundesliga outfit proved their worth in a 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund at the weekend, and they are surely capable of matching the Serbian vice-champions in front of home fans.
All Andersson, Chabot, Limnios, and Olesen should miss out with injuries for the home side. The Black and Whites, on the other hand, suffered a shocking Serbian Cup defeat to lower-league side Sremska Mitrovica, but they head into the Conference League game following a 4-1 win over Vojvodina. Anyhow, home win should be considered as Partizan are not regarded as good travellers. Midfielder Kristijan Belic is back from suspension for the visiting team.
Highlighted Player (Jonas Hector):
Jonas Hector is a product of Koln’s youth school. The left back was born on 27 May, 1990 in Saarbrucken and he began his youth career at SV Auersmacher. In 2010 he joined FC Koln and he made 63 league appearances for the reserve team between 2010 and 2013. Ever since he made his debut for the senior team on 27 August, 2012 he has been playing regularly for the Billy Goats and he certainly helped the team return to Bundesliga at the end of the 2013/2014 campaign.
Jonas Hector made his Germany debut on 14 November, 2014 in a 4-0 win over Gibraltar. The left-footed defender scored his first goal for the German national team on 29 March, 2016 in a 4-1 victory over Italy in Munich.
Hector represented his homeland at the 2016 European Championship finals in France and he scored the winner from the penalty spot in the quarter-final against Italy. Hector is capable of playing as a midfielder as well.
Highlighted Team (Partizan):
Partizan are a Serbian football club founded by Yugoslav People’s Army on October 4, 1945. The Crno-beli (Black and Whites) play their home games at Partizan Stadium and the capacity of the venue is 32.710. During the 20th century Partizan were in the shadow of their bitterest rivals Crvena zvezda, who won the European Cup in 1991, but nowadays the Crno-beli are the dominant force in the Serbian Super League, with the team winning their 11th domestic trophy of the 21st century in the 2016/2017 season.
Partizan face Crvena Zvezda in Veciti derbi (Eternal derby) which is considered one of the greatest derbies in the world. Speaking of the club’s European success, Partizan did well to make it to the European Cup final in the 1965/1966 season, but Real Madrid proved to be a big catch for the Serbian champions in the title game at Heysel Stadium.
The likes of Predrag Mijatovic, Miroslav Djukic, Savo Milosevic, Danko Lazovic, Stevan Jovetic, Matija Nastasic, Albert Nadj, Mateja Kezman and Adem Ljajic are the notable footballers who played for Partizan in the past.