Preview: FC Midtjylland vs. Braga

Preview: FC Midtjylland vs. Braga

Braga will travel to Denmark to face FC Midtjylland at the MCH Arena in the penultimate round of Europa League group games on Thursday evening.

The visitors currently sit top of Group F on nine points, whilst their hosts are four points behind in third but still have a good chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds.

After last year’s unsuccessful appearance in the Champions League group stages, Midtjylland will be determined to progress in this season’s Europa League.

The Danish side were minnows in a group containing six-time European Cup winners Liverpool, Ajax and Atalanta, and unsurprisingly managed just two points, leaving them bottom of the group and without the consolation prize of a spot in the Europa League.

They qualified for the competition this year, after falling at the third qualifying round for the Champions League, but picked up just two points from their opening three games.

Their prospects within the group changed after their most recent game, however, thanks to a crucial 1-0 win away at Red Star Belgrade – a Guelor Kanga own goal in the 56th minute proving to be the difference.

That leaves Midtjylland just two points behind the Serbian team with two games remaining and with everything to play for, but they will likely have to earn something against the group leaders to stay in touch.

Braga got their Europa League campaign off to a poor start with a 2-1 loss to Red Star back in September, a costly mistake at the back seeing Aleksandar Katai hold his nerve to net a match-winning penalty with five minutes remaining.

They put that behind them, though, and have won their last three games in the competition to move to the top of Group F.

Back-to-back wins over group underdogs Ludogorets followed a 3-1 home win against Midtjylland, where second-half goals from Galeno and Ricardo Horta overturned an initial one-goal deficit.

Carlos Carvalhal will know that a repeat of that result will see his team well-positioned to secure the automatic qualification spot and guaranteed the minimum of a playoff.

The manager will hope that his men can produce a performance more like the one from their 6-0 win over Santa Clara at the weekend than their 6-1 loss to Benfica the other side of the international break in order to so.

FC Midtjylland Europa League form:
FC Midtjylland form (all competitions):
Braga Europa League form:
Braga form (all competitions):

We say: FC Midtjylland 1-2 Braga
Whilst Midtjylland produced that impressive 1-0 win in their previous European game, they have lost their last two matches in the Danish Superliga – hardly ideal preparations for this important encounter.

We expect Braga to build on the confidence they will have gained from their big victory at the weekend and overcome the hosts’ home advantage to secure a narrow win.

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