Preview: Hacken vs. Aberdeen

Preview: Hack

Scottish side Aberdeen travel to the Bravida Arena in Gothenburg to take on reigning Swedish champions Hacken in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie on Thursday night.

While the hosts are two-thirds of the way through their 2023 Swedish top-flight campaign, the visitors have only taken part in three competitive fixtures in the new season.

Hacken’s hopes of reaching the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history were quashed at the beginning of this month when they suffered a 4-3 defeat on penalties to Faroe islands outfit KI Klaksvik following a 3-3 draw on aggregate in the second qualifying round.

However, the Wasps are still in the mix to secured group-stage football in the Europa League following their thumping 8-1 aggregate victory over FK Zalgaris in the third qualifying round, including a 5-0 second-leg home triumph last Thursday.

Ibrahim Sadiq starred for the Swedish side with two goals, and he was also on the scoresheet in the 3-2 home win over Sirius in the Allsvenskan last Sunday, with Per-Mathias Hogmo’s side eventually coming out on top courtesy of a 95th-minute own goal.

Hacken, who currently sit second in the Swedish top-flight table after 20 games, have won each of their last four matches in all competitions, scoring 13 goals in the process, and they head into Thursday’s clash with Aberdeen unbeaten in each of their last 12 home games dating back to April.

The Wasps face Aberdeen for the first time since a 5-3 aggregate defeat against the Dons in the 2021-22 Europa Conference League second qualifying round, although they did win the second leg 2-0 on home soil.

Seven months on from suffering an embarrassing Scottish Cup defeat to sixth-tier side Darvel, Aberdeen boss Barry Robson took no chances against League One outfit Stirling Albion in the second round of the Scottish League Cup last Friday, as he named a full-strength side in a 2-1 victory at Forthbank Stadium.

Bojan Miovski and Leighton Clarkson netted either side of half time, and although Stirling threatened a late comeback when Greig Spence pulled a goal back on the 75-minute mark, the Dons held on to progress to the quarter-finals, where they will face Ross County next month.

Victory over Stirling was Aberdeen’s first of the season in any competition after they failed to beat Livingston and champions Celtic in their opening two Scottish Premiership matches, playing out a goalless stalemate with the former before losing 3-1 at home to the latter.

Robson’s side will be looking to build a positive run of form in the coming weeks, starting with Thursday’s clash with Hacken as they endeavour to move one step closer to securing Europa League group-stage football for the first time in their history.

Hacken Europa League form:

Hacken form (all competitions):

Aberdeen form (all competitions):

We say: Hacken 1-1 Aberdeen
Aberdeen were comprehensive winners against Hacken the last time that these two team locked horns over two legs two years ago, but a tighter affair could be in store in Thursday’s first leg.

Hacken enter the clash in Gothenburg in better form than their Scottish counterparts and we can see the hosts holding on for a draw at the Bravida Arena.

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