Our prediction for this Europa League match:
AZ Alkmaar and Rijeka face each other at AFAS Stadion in the second round of the Europa League group stages. AZ did well to beat the odds in their Europa League opener, with the team shocking Napoli at Stadio San Paolo, and, no doubt, the hosts are brimming with confidence ahead of the visit of Rijeka. The Eredivisie aim to climb to top position in Group F, and they are likely to go all guns blazing at the Croatian outfit.
Svensson returns from a domestic ban for the hosts, while the likes of Letschert, Evjen, Boadu, and Druijf are unlikely to feature against Rijeka as they were tested positive for coronavirus. Rijeka, on the other hand, were on the verge of sharing the spoils with Real Sociedad in their last league match, but the La Liga outfit eventually scored the winner in the stoppage time. Even though there are some selection worries in the home team, we are tempted to put our money on AZ as they are a more experienced side than Rijeka.
Highlighted Player (Jordy Clasie):
Jordy Clasie is a product of the Feyenoord youth academy who plays for AZ Alkmaar as a midfielder. His main position is defensive midfield, but he is capable of producing fine displays as both central midfielder and centre-back as well.
Clasie played for the likes of Feyenoord, Excelsior (loan), Southampton, and Club Brugge (loan) before returning to Rotterdam. After ending his second spell with Feyenoord, the Dutch footballer joined AZ Alkmaar in the summer of 2019. He made his AZ debut in the Eredivisie on August 4, 2019 in a 4-0 win over Fortuna Sittard.
Jordie Clasie has 12 caps with the Netherlands U21 team, and he made his senior debut in a 1-1 draw with Italy on February 6, 2013. Thanks to his elegant style of play, Clasie has earned the nickname of “Dutch Xavi”. The AZ Alkmaar midfielder was born in Haarlem, Netherlands on June 27, 1991.
Highlighted Team (Rijeka):
Founded on July 29, 1946 as Sportsko Drustvo Kvarner, Rijeka are a Croatian football club that have always been in Dinamo Zagreb’s shadow. Dinamo are undisputedly the biggest football club in Croatia, but Rijeka did well to put an end to their dominance in the HNL in the 2016/2017 season.
The Rijecki bijeli won their first ever domestic trophy and, as a result, they made it to the Champions League qualifiers. However, Greek champions Olympiacos proved to be a big catch for Matjaz Kek’s troops in the play-offs for the group stages of the elite competition.
Before the breakup of Yugoslavia Rijeka won two domestic cups (1977/1978, 1978/1979) and it has to be noted that they clinched their fourth Croatian Cup title in 2017, with the team beating Dinamo Zagreb in the final of the competition. Rijeka welcome their rivals at Stadion Rujevica and the capacity of the stadium is 8.279. The venue was opened in August 2, 2015.