Check out our analysis, team news, line-ups and see our prediction for this match.
Since only one gate separates the two sides, HJK Helsinki and Fenerbahçe Renew the hostilities in the second half of theirs Europe League Playoff tie at the Bolt Arena on Thursday night.
The Turkish giants gained a 1-0 first leg advantage thanks to substitutes Muhammed Gumuskajas spectacular performance, but the hosts are still hoping for a memorable comeback.
Prediction for this match
Although hopes for the Champions League were lost by Scandinavian counterpart Malmö, HJK produced the goods against Neftchi Baku to book a blockbuster fight with Fenerbahce and they held out for most of the encounter.
But after 65 minutes of the game, Gumuskaya – who had been introduced just three minutes earlier – picked up the ball from the left side of the box, giving his side an invaluable advantage in the first leg.
HJK did not wave the white flag with an aggregate result of just 1-0, although that defeat ended a seven-game unbeaten streak for the 30-time Finnish champions, who finished with a 1 at the weekend. returned to the league -0 win against Lahti thanks to a winner for the Papua New Guinea attacker David Browne.
The win over Lahti meant HJK’s fourth win and fourth goal in five games in all Bolt-Arena competitions.
A club of Fenerbahce’s stature would undoubtedly have hoped for a bigger advantage in the first leg – and it took a moment of Gumuskaya’s magic for the Turkish side to prevail at all last week – but Vitor Pereira‘s Harvest has the lead in the tie and will be under pressure not to throw it away now.
The rusting of the Turkish giants was perhaps understandable when you consider that the first leg was only their second competitive game of the new season, but Pereira’s men have won consecutive wins over Adana Demirspor and Antalyaspor on both sides after beating HJK, with three clean sheets to boot.
However, Fenerbahce had to call on the cavalry at the weekend as the fight against Antalyaspor ended goalless, but Miha Zajc and Enner Valencia came off the bench to score two rapid fire goals in the dying embers of a tie and ensure the perfect start for her team into the new season.
After three painful years without any continental football, Fenerbahce’s first appearance in the actual Europa League since the 2018/19 season is only 90 minutes away, but Pereira’s men cannot take anything for granted in a fight between two staunch defenders.
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HJK’s medical room welcomed a number of newcomers, as during the weekend game with Lahti Kevin Kouassivi-Benissan, Anthony Olusanya and Matti Peltola were all pushed aside with different problems.
However, neither of the trio expected to begin this encounter with Toni Koskela heralds the changes in the league to keep his big hitters fresh for the second leg.
Finland’s ninth best player Tim Sparv is one of several players the hosts should reintroduce into the first XI with Riku Riski and Filip Valencic probably also be active in the last third.
As for Fenerbahce, Ozan Tufan recently completed a loan exchange to Watford while Irfan Kahveci and Filip Novak were excluded from the second leg after sustaining an Achilles tendon or muscle injury in the first leg.
The duo join a strong squad of injured players, including Mert Hakan Yandas, Dimitrios Pelkas and Serdar Dursun, while Kahveci’s place on the team was to be occupied by the former Blackpool and Queens Park Rangers winger Light Osayi-Samuel.
Mesut Özil Only replaced by the bench at the weekend, but will certainly find himself back in the team here, while Novak’s absence leaves the guests without a recognized left-back Ferdi Kadioglu could be forced to change the edge.
HJK Helsinki possible starting line-up:
Tannander; Saksela, Moren, O’Shaughnessy, Murillo; Sparw, Jair; Riku Riski, Valencic, Browne; Roope Riski
Fenerbahce possible starting line-up:
Bayindir; Tisserand, Aziz, Szalai; Sangare, Gustavo, Sosa, Kadioglu; Osayi-Samuel, Zajc, Özil
Probability: HJK Helsinki 0-1 Fenerbahce (Fenerbahce wins 2-0 in the overall standings)
HJK’s home record is impressive and, having only burst in the first leg after an unstoppable long-range shot, the Finnish team’s fans can dream.
Fenerbahce seem to be getting their groove on at the start of the season, however, and also know a thing or two about conceding goals.
Best betting tip for this match
Our expert tipster partners at footpredictions.com predict over 1.5 goals in this game. Click here to see more football predictions to see what else they are predicting for this game and for more proven soccer tips.Over 1.5: data