Our prediction for this Europa League match:
A place in the Europa League knockout stages will be at stake when AZ Alkmaar and Partizan face each other at Cars Jeans Stadion. The Dutch outfit impressed in back-to-back wins over Astana, and, as a result, they are on the verge of booking their place in the last 32. The Cheeseheads have been scoring goals for fun in all competitions, and despite being four points clear of Partizan in Group L, we are positive that the hosts will adopt an attack-minded approach in Thursday’s football game.
AZ aim to get their job done in the Europa League group stages as soon as possible. Given Partizan’s shaky defence, we are positive that the visitors are going to return to Belgrade empty-handed. The two teams played out a 2-2 draw in Serbia earlier in the process, but it has to be noted that AZ defender Jonas Svensson was sent off after 27 minutes.
Highlighted Player (Ron Vlaar):
Ron Vlaar is a professional football player who began his senior career at AZ Alkmaar. The right-footed defender made 10 appearances for the club between 2004 and 2006 and then he joined fellow Eredivisie club Feyenoord.
Vlaar made his Feyenoord debut on 15 January, 2006 against Vitesse and he was playing for de Trots van Zuid until July, 2012. The Dutch defender moved to England on 27 July, signing a three-year deal with Aston Villa. He made 27 league appearances for the Villans in the 2012/2013 Premier League campaign and he was named captain on 15 September, 2012. Ron Vlaar participated in the 2014/2015 FA Cup final, but Aston Villa were beaten by Arsenal in the title game.
In 2015 he returns to AZ Alkmaar and he has been playing for the Dutch team ever since. Speaking of his international career, Vlaar won the UEFA U21 Championship with Netherlands on two occasions (2006, 2007). In 2014 he won the bronze medal with the Oranje at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
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.