Although the average TV viewer will mainly be watching Dutch action in the Conference League tonight, there is also a higher level to experience. Because: Can Barcelona prevent an early exit from Europe? Can van Bronckhorst successfully defend the lead against Dortmund?
6.45 pm: Lazio – Porto
The Portuguese defended their 2-1 home win in Italy. Without the away goals rule, Lazio 1-0 is not enough. Then the extension follows. The match is important for Dutch football, with Portugal, the Netherlands and possibly even France currently engaged in a battle for fourth, fifth and sixth positions in the UEFA coefficient rankings. This is the list that determines how many teams can play in each country at any European level.
6.45 pm: Olympiacos – Atalanta
The colorful Dutch Atalanta won the exciting first leg 2-1. Martin de Rhone, Thion Kompiners and Hans Hatebor spent the Champions League winter last year, but this season they have moved into the Europa League by way of third place in the group. Last year, the Italian team was stranded in this round, but Atalanta are hoping to continue their European adventure against the Greeks.
9 pm: Naples – Barcelona
This is the best of this round of the European League. After last week’s 1-1 draw at Camp Nou, Barcelona are keen to bring Napoli’s win back to Spain. By excluding, the Catalans will feel some shame, despite the standing of tonight’s opponent. Coach Xavi received many compliments last weekend after a 1-4 away game in Valencia, but those compliments disappear like snow in the sun in the event of a potential disqualification. The injured Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong, who played well last week, can always bring Luke de Jong onto the field if things threaten to go wrong. The Dutchman has often proven important to Barcelona this season with his goals as a substitute.
9 pm: Rangers – Borussia Dortmund
Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst said already last week after the 2-4 away game in Dortmund: The euphoria back then was worth nothing if that lead was not maintained today. In addition, Rangers are struggling in competition: at the end of last week, the team tied, as a result of which the gap with Celtic increased to three points. And so Dortmund, with former PSV Eindhoven player Doniel Malin, lost hope. By abolishing the away goals rule, a 0-2 win is enough for the German national team to pull the extension out of the fire. They had to deal with a major setback this week: striker Haaland was not yet fit enough to travel to Scotland.
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