League of Ireland title holders Shamrock Rovers take on Ferencváros of Hungary in their Europa League play-off, first leg tie this week. Here’s all you need to know about the match.
Where and when is it on?
Thursday's match takes place at the Groupama Arena in Budapest with a 5.30pm kick-off.
What’s the team news?
We'll bring you team news once we have it later in the week.
Who are Ferencváros?
The Budapest outfit are one of the most successful sides in Hungarian football, having won their domestic league on 33 occasions, including a current four-in-a-row, and the Hungarian Cup 24 times.
They even have a win in one of the Europa League's predecessors, claiming the Fairs Cup in 1965, beating Juventus 1-0 in the final. They also reached the decider in 1968, losing 1-0 to Leeds over two legs.
They have played Irish opposition before, beating Bohs 5-0 at home and 1-0 away in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup.
Their Champions League run this season saw them beat Tobol of Kazakhstan 5-1, and Slovakians Slovan Bratislava 5-3 in their first two rounds before dropping into the Europa play-off after a 4-2 aggregate loss to Qarabağ from Azerbaijan.
What's at stake?
The fact that the Hoops have already secured group stage European football in the Europa Conference League after last week's win over Shkupi means that there's an element of a free hit to this tie with the opportunity to go one better and qualify for the Europa League group stages.
What to read on Independent.ie?
Having seen group stage action in Europe before, Rovers failed to build on that 2011 milestone. But with their target achieved this season., Daniel McDonnell writes that the Tallaght club are now better positioned to make the most if this year's success.
With the success of Irish clubs in Europe this season, Daniel also argues that the early finish to the GAA inter-county season has provided a window that the likes of Shamrock Rovers can slip into.
Rovers boss Stephen Bradley has been “blown away” by the generosity of the League of Ireland community, as his family’s charity fundraiser nears €75,000. Bradley and his wife Emma launched “Josh’s Shave Your Head Challenge” last week, as their eight-year-old son is currently undergoing treatment for an illness in Crumlin Children’s hospital.
The money will be split between the Children’s Health Foundation, Aoibheann’s Pink Tie and the Irish Cancer Society and you can donate to the fundraiser here.
Where can I watch the match?
The game will be shown live on RTE 2 from 5pm. It will also be available to stream through the RTE Player
What are the odds?
Ferencváros are heavy favourites at 2/5 with Rovers 11/2 and the draw priced at 16/5.
What's the latest from the Rovers camp?
"Look, it’s fantastic. Like I said, it’s one of our targets, it’s something I said we wanted to improve on.
"We let ourselves down against Tallinn last year, although they were a good side. We needed to learn from that and it’s made us stronger. It’s something that we set out to go one step further."