Meet the opponents
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Meet the opponents
Fri , 27/8/2021

Meet the opponents

One is the current hit of East Germany, one reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League last season and one has an Israeli goalkeeper and an Iranian striker. Nice to meet you, Group E.

Feyenoord - An Israeli goalkeeper and an Iranian striker
 
The decorated club from Rotterdam is going through some difficult times. Feyenoord won a single championship in the 21st century (2017, the retirement season of the legendary Dirk Kuijt) and finished last season in fifth place, 29 points behind the champions
 
This summer’s transfer window was very traumatic for the club’s fans due to the decision of their big star, Steven Berghuis, to join the arch rival Ajax Amsterdam. As a result, the striker was abused with antisemitic slur by the Feyenoord's Ultras, some of which are identified with the far right in the local political map. The club itself is not involved in politics, recruiting players according to professional considerations only.
 
This summer, Feyenoord has signed the Israeli goalkeeper, Ofir Marciano, and the Iranian winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who failed to fit into the Brighton squad in the previous two seasons. Before the move to the English side, Jahanbakhsh was one of the stars of the Dutch league in the AZ Alkmaar uniform, and at Feyenoord he is set to step into Berghuis' shoes and become a key player. In the Conference League qualifications the Iranian scored 3 goals as Feyenoord passed by Drita (Kosovo), Luzern (Switzerland) and Elfsborg (Sweden)

Slavia Praha - quarterfinalists of the Europa League last season
 
Participating in the Conference League is a huge disappointment for Slavia, which has become accustomed to opponents of a different magnitude in Europe during the last two years. In 2019 they played in the Champions League "group of death" against Barcelona, Inter Milan and Dortmund, and left a good impression. Last season, Slavia reached the Europa League quarterfinals in a journey that included meetings with Hapoel Beer Sheva in the group stage (a 3:1 loss in Israel and a 2:4 victory in Prague), as well as victories over Leverkusen, Nice, Leicester and Glasgow Rangers.
 
Slavia, who returned to greatness in the Czech football, after a long crisis, has won the local championship in the last three seasons. It was surprised by Ferencvarosi in the Champions League qualifiers and eliminated by Legia Warsaw in the Europa League qualifiers to drop out to the Conference League. As far as coach Jindrich Trpisovsky is concerned, who is considered to be a brilliant football mind and dreams of getting a chance in the Bundesliga, these were dramatic setbacks, and he is determined to minimise damages for his club in the new competition.
 
Slavia has five players from the Czech Republic national team, which reached the Euro 2020 quarterfinals, including midfielder Tomasz Holes, who excelled and scored in the victory match against the Netherlands in the round of last 16, and the creative midfielder Lukas Masopust.
Slavia started the new season in the Czech first league with four consecutive wins in the first four fixtures.

Union Berlin - The hit of East Germany
 
Unlike Hertha Berlin, which is located in West Berlin and has always belonged to the West German Bundesliga, Union comes from the east side of the city, and used to play in the East German Premier league during the time the city of Berlin was divided by the wall. They were the bitter rivals of Dynamo Berlin, a club supported by the authorities, and therefore failed on the pitch, but was perceived as the football club of the common people.
 
Nowadays, the club supporters are its real owners and its main asset. Their social ventures made Union a cult team and a favorite club amongst the neutral crowd, even though they competed in the 2. Bundesliga up until two seasons ago.
 
Union qualified for the Bundesliga for the first time in its history in 2019 and stayed there against all odds. In the first season it finished in the 11th place, and last season it advanced up to the seventh place, ahead of city rivals Hertha and qualified for the Conference League.
 
In the European competitions, the team is obligated to use the Hertha’s Olympic Stadium, because UEFA does not allow games to take place in its old-fashioned and magical home field, which has mostly standing terraces. The team’s biggest star is the experienced striker Max Kruse, and you can also find in the squad midfielder Rani Khedira, Sami's brother.
 

Slavia Praha. meeting with Hapoel Beer Sheva in the group stage