Gothenburg resumes Europa League quest

The quest is on for Europa League spots

Former European heavyweights IFK Gothenburg continues its quest to reach this season's UEFA Europa League group stage at Gyori on Friday (AEST).

The Swedish side lifted European football's second-tier trophy back in 1982 and again in 1987 under its former guise of the UEFA Cup but its ambitions for this year's tournament are likely to be much smaller as it approaches the first leg of the second-qualifying-round clash in Hungary.

Mikael Stahre's men were third in the Allsvenskan last season but currently sit a disappointing sixth after 14 games this term and will likely need to improve after only defeating Luxembourg's Fola Esch 2-0 on aggregate in the previous round.

Gothenburg will not be the only Swedish team aiming to try and seal a place in the third qualifying round, with Elfsborg, AIK and Brommapojkarna taking on Inter Baku, Linfield and Crusaders respectively.

Rosenborg were surprisingly eliminated at the same stage last season, losing out to Scottish side St Johnstone, and they will hope to avoid a repeat against Ireland's Sligo Rovers.

Swiss side Luzern is the opponent on this occasion for St Johnstone, which is one of three Scottish teams competing in the Europa League.

Motherwell meets Icelandic side Stjarnan, while Aberdeen faces a tricky test against Eredivisie playoff winner Groningen in what should be one of the standout ties of the round.

Norwegian's Tromso was the big winner of the first qualifying round, hammering Tartu Santos of Estonia 13-1, and it will be looking for more of the same against Faroese outfit Vikingur.

Tippeligaen leader Molde meets  Gorica of Slovenia while Norwegian compatriot Haugesund will need to overcome Sarajevo.

Zulte-Waregem and Shakhter Karagandy take on Zawisza Bydgoszcz and Atlantas respectively as they both aim to feature in the group stage for a second straight year.

Lech Poznan, a last-32 participant in 2011, will be favourite against Estonia's Nomme Kalju, and its Polish compatriot Ruch Chorzow should be hopeful of progress against Vaduz of Liechtenstein.

Romanian's Cluj makes its return to European football after a year-long absence against Jagodina, while Petrolul Ploesti faces Flamurtari Vlore as it bids to go better than last season's run to the final playoff round.

Zimbru will require a fine performance in order to knock out CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria and Chikhura is also likely to be up against it in the tie with Bursaspor.

Kazakhstani sides Astana and Kairat meet Hapoel Tel Aviv and Esbjerg, the latter of whom reached the last 32 in 2013-2014.

Finnish teams RoPS and MYPA are pitted against Asteras Tripolis and Dinamo Misnk, whose fellow Belarusians Neman Grodno and Shakhtyor will need to overcome FH and Derry City.

Kosice faces Slovan Liberec, Laci meet Zorya and Neftci take on Koper, while the games between Omonia Nicosia and Buducnost, Vojvodina and Trencin, Zestafoni and Spartak Trnava and St Polten and Botev Plovidiv should all be hotly contested.

Meanwhile, Sillamae Kalev hosts Krasnodar, Rijeka welcomes Ferencvaros, Hajduk Split travels to Dundalk and the Croatian side's city rival RNK Split meet Haspoel Be'er Sheva of Israel.

Elsewhere, there are clashes between Siroki Brijeg and Mlada Boleslav, Diosgyor and Litex Lovech, Metalurg Skopje and Zeljeznicar, while Cukaricki hosts Grodig.

Source Omnisport