Aberdeen have been handed what looks like a favorable Europa League draw. They’ll face RoPS Rovaniemi in the first set of qualifiers, before facing either Fola Esch or Chikhura Sachkhere in the second.
Last year the Dons had Burnley to contend with in the second round of qualifiers. Reds boss Derek McInnes will no doubt be grateful for a kinder draw.
Here is the lowdown on all three of Aberdeen’s possible Europa League opponents.
RoPS hail from Finland. They are an improving outfit in the country, securing their joint-best ever finish last season as they finished second behind Hjk Helsinki.
The club were founded in 1950 and are currently managed by Passi Tuuti.
RoPS have been poor so far this season though. The Finish side currently sit 10th in the league having won just three games all season. They don’t have any real star names. One face that may spring to mind though is ex-AC Milan left-back Taye Taiwo.
The Dons should have no problem getting by the Scandinavian outfit.
One of two potential second round opponents for McInnes, Aberdeen have a bit of prior experience with Fola already. They faced each other three years ago in the first qualifying round.
Whilst the Dons won 3-1 at home, Fola led 1-0 during the second leg. It was a nervy tie and McInnes will hope for an easier tie if they return to Luxembourg.
Fola were founded in 1906 and play in the Stade Émile Mayrisch. They are currently managed by Jeff Strasser.
The Luxembourg side finished second in the National Division last year but have won the league on seven occasions. The last Fola players to score against the Pittodrie side, Samir Hadji and Julien Klein, are still at the club.
Sachkhere are based in Georgia. They finished fourth in their league last season.
Their home ground Central Stadium holds only 2000. There’s no need to worry about tickets though for Aberdeen fans if they face them. Sachkhere move to the 27,223 seater Mikheil Meskhi Stadium on European nights.
Samson Pruidze has been in charge of Chikhura for a lengthy spell of 11 years. They were founded in 1938 and have 1 Georgian Super Cup and 1 Georgian Cup to their name.