Red Bull Salzburg first appeared in the top rankings of the Austrian league in 2006 when they came second. Since then they have won the league 11 times, including each of the last seven seasons. On the four occasions they have not won the league, they came second. Rapid Vienna have come second in four of the last seven seasons.
We are, in other words, playing the perennial runners-up in a one horse race. Except after three games this season they are sixth in the table, having won one, drawn one and lost one of their opening games.
In 2011, former Molde and Manchester United man Ole Gunnar Solskjær became manager and they won their first title, which they kept the following season. He left the club, went to Cardiff, returned to Molde and then went to Man U. Molde won the title last season and started out in the 1st qualifying round of the champions League but were knocked out in the 4th (play off) round, and so joined the Europa.
Dundalk is a town on the Irish Sea, just south of the border with N Ireland. The town’s football team had a long period of decline in the early part of this century, but have revived themselves in recent years. In 2019 they won a League Cup and League double with four matches to spare, but in 2020 changed managers and appointed Filippo Giovagnoli, who gave them qualification for this Europa League campaign. This season after 11 games they are 18 points behind the league leaders, Shamrock Rovers, with two games in hand.
The dates to note are
- 22 October: Group stage, Matchday 1
29 October: Group stage, Matchday 2
- 05 November: Group stage, Matchday 3
26 November: Group stage, Matchday 4
- 03 December: Group stage, Matchday 5
10 December: Group stage, Matchday 6
14 December: Round of 32 draw, Nyon
However there is a problem, because against all the odds Tottenham Hots have also got through to the group stages of the Europa League.
|17 Sep 2020
||Lokomotiv Plovdiv v Tottenham Hotspur
|24 Sep 2020
||KF Shkëndija v Tottenham Hotspur
|01 Oct 2020
||Tottenham Hotspur v Maccabi Haifa
This is a problem because of the ancient Europa League rule that two games in the League can’t be played in the same city on the same night. There were signs that the wise men of Uefa were letting this rule go but we may find that we are getting some odd timetabling if the tiny totts are drawn to play in north London at the same time as us. Although if the lockdown continues, that probably doesn’t really matter very much.