Standard de Liège will launch its European course on Thursday evening at around 8 p.m. in a stadium in Sclessin which will resonate empty due to the coronavirus protocol set up by UEFA. Philippe Montanier’s side will challenge the modest Welsh side of Bala Town in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.
Even if his opponent should theoretically not pose any problems for him, Standard is facing a cleaver match. If successful, the Liégeois will join Charleroi in the third and penultimate qualifying round. One defeat and their European season would already be over. The Cup-winning Antwerp is guaranteed to play in the group stage.
Despite a defeat on Saturday at Oud-Heverlee Louvain (1-0), the first for Philippe Montanier in an official match, the ‘Rouches’ are in 3rd place in the Belgian championship and have a record of 10 points out of 15.
It is without Maxime Lestienne, Samuel Bastien, Joachim Carcela and William Balikwisha, all injured, that Standard will have to get rid of the Welsh. To achieve this, the French technician does not intend to rotate his workforce and will align “the most competitive team possible”.
If it passes this second round, played in a dry match due to the coronavirus crisis, Standard will host the Vojvodina Serbs on September 24.
A new victory would allow the people of Liège to contest the jump-off on October 1, the draw of which is scheduled for Friday September 18.
Last season, Standard finished third in a Group F Europa League which included Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt and Guimaraes.