After a dramatic 4-4 draw in the Netherlands last week, Copenhagen and PSV Eindhoven will complete their battle for a spot in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals in the Danish capital on Thursday.
A back-and-forth encounter eventually finished level, leaving everything to play for in the second leg.
After a dominant group-stage performance, in which they won five of their six fixtures, Copenhagen progressed automatically to the Europa Conference League round of 16 and made a tough trip to the Netherlands with the hopes of gaining a creditable away first-leg result last week.
The Byens Hold took the lead on three separate occasions in Eindhoven, and they sat in a strong position at the interval as Isak Bergmann Johannesson, Pep Biel and Lukas Lerager had them 3-1 up.
The hosts would move back level, only for another twist to occur as Biel netted his second of the game to make it 4-3, and, while they were not able to see out the away win, Jess Thorup’s side did show their ability in a tough away tie and should take positives from their attacking display.
They followed that up with an important 1-0 victory away at third-placed FC Midtjylland to move five points clear at the summit of the Danish top flight on Sunday, as Khouma Babacar netted the winner in the 95th minute after it looked set to end goalless.
Now with home advantage in the second leg, the Byens Hold will look to build on their exciting first-leg showing with a win to progress to the quarter-finals.
PSV Eindhoven, meanwhile, will aim to do what they could not in the first leg and see off the Danish outfit on their way to the final eight.
Following a second-placed finish in their group, Roger Schmidt’s side had to battle through a playoff to reach the quarter-finals, and a 2-1 aggregate victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv booked their meeting with Copenhagen.
They headed into the home leg in fine form, having won seven of their last eight domestic games to move within two points of the summit of the Eredivisie table and reach the KNVB Cup final.
Thursday’s meeting did not start as planned, though, although Cody Gakpo’s first-half goal did give them a lifeline, before he netted his second alongside Ritsu Doan to draw the game back to 3-3 and Eran Zahavi netted the final equaliser in the last five minutes.
On the back of that dramatic encounter, the Boeren strengthen their Dutch title bid with a 1-0 away win over Utrecht on Sunday, as Zahavi netted the only goal of the game, and they will now look to continue their eye-catching run of form across all fronts with a continental victory to advance to the next stage of the Conference League.
Copenhagen Europa Conference League form:
Copenhagen form (all competitions):
PSV Eindhoven Europa Conference League form:
PSV Eindhoven form (all competitions):
We say: Copenhagen 2-3 PSV Eindhoven (PSV Eindhoven win 7-6 on aggregate)
After the dramatic first leg, we can certainly expect another high-scoring encounter, and we predict a narrow win for the visitors.
While they were not able to make the most of home advantage last week, Schmidt’s men do boast the quality required to get over the line in Denmark.