Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Freiburg will try to make a flying start to their Europa League campaign when they welcome Qarabag to their Europa-Park Stadion on Thursday. Freiburg proved their worth in a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen, meaning that they are brimming with confidence ahead of the visit of Qarabag. Roland Sallai limped off with injury in the BayArena triumph, while all Ezekwem, Holer, Kubler, and Schade remain in the recovery room.
The Azeri, on the other hand, failed to upset Plzen in the Champions League playoffs, and they are seen as underdogs in their Europa League opener as well. Considering that Christian Streich’s troops kicked off the new Bundesliga campaign in style, anything but a routine home win would be a major surprise. To make things even worse for the visiting side, key attacker Ibrahima Wadji joined St Etienne in the summer transfer window.
Highlighted Player (Nils Petersen):
Son to a football coach, Andreas, the Freiburg striker Nils Petersen is a physical forward best known for his clinical finishing. A former Bayern Munich striker never got a chance to prove his worth with Bundesliga giants and had to take a long road to prominence which included loan spells at Werder Bremen and Freiburg, before penning a permanent deal with Die Breisaguer in 2015.
Petersen’s impressive exploits during the 2017/18 season helped him get into Germany’s provisional FIFA World Cup 2018 squad although his father Andreas would argue it was his personal influence that helped Joachim Loew write his son’s name in the 23-man list. Namely, Andres Piteresen spotted the Germany manager on a beach in January and decided to ask him about his son’s chances of making it into Germany World Cup squad.
Piteresen was rewarded with his senior Germany cap in an Austria friendly but unfortunately for his father missed out on the final squad for the tournament in Russia.
Highlighted Team (Qarabag):
Over the years Qarabag have established themselves as one of the best teams in Azerbaijan. The club was founded in 1951 and they were playing under the name of Mehsul back then. Qarabag won their first trophy in the national championship in 1993, beating Khazar Sumgayit in the title game.
In the 2015/2016 season they won their fourth domestic trophy, with the team finishing the season 22 points clear of second-placed Zira. Qarabag participated in the 2016/2017 Champions League qualifiers, but they were more than unfortunate to suffer a loss to Viktoria Plzen in the two-legged tie. The Azerbaijan outfit were beaten by the Czechs on away goal rule and, as a result, they made it to the Europa League playoffs.
Thanks to a win over Goteborg in the double-header Qarabag made it to the knockout stages of the competition. The Horsemen play their home games at Azersun Arena and their home colours are black. Qarabag play their away games in white kits.