Randers take on Galatasaray at Cepheus Park Randers on Thursday evening in the first league of the sides’ Europa League playoff round tie.
The hosts enter at this stage thanks to domestic success last season, while Galatasaray are relying on Europe’s secondary competition following elimination from the Champions League.
After winning the Danish Cup last season, Randers have made a positive start to the 2021-22 Danish Superliga campaign with four wins and a draw in their first five matches.
The Horses have won three league games on the trot, most recently overcoming Viborg FF last Friday to move top of the division, a point better off than FC Midtjylland.
This is just the sixth time Randers have been involved in European competition, though never have they made it to the group stage.
They most recently went down 1-0 on aggregate to Elfsborg in the second qualifying round of this competition in 2015-16, so they do not exactly boast European pedigree.
Galatasaray will therefore enter this game as favourites to advance to the Europa League proper, but the Turkish giants will be disappointed not to be in the Champions League.
Fatih Terim’s men were thrashed 7-2 by PSV Eindhoven in the preliminary stages, seeing them drop into the Europa League qualifying rounds.
A 1-1 draw at home to St Johnstone in the last round had Galatasaray facing the possibility of Europa Conference League football, but they recovered to win the reverse leg 4-2.
The Yellow-Reds followed that up with a 2-0 win at Giresunspor at the weekend in their opening game of the new Super Lig season.
Challenging for domestic honours is a must for Terim this campaign, but a European run will also be on the cards, so the Turkish side cannot afford to slip up on Thursday night.
Randers form (all competitions):
Galatasaray Europa League form:
Galatasaray form (all competitions):
We say: Randers 0-2 Galatasaray
If Randers are to pull off a big upset and reach the Europa League group stage, they will surely have to pick up a positive result in this first leg on home soil.
The Horses have made a strong start to their domestic campaign, but we can still see Galatasaray’s quality shining through in Denmark on Thursday evening.