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RBL set for Europa League qualifier against BK Häcken

First competitive game of 2018/19 for Die Roten Bullen | Swedish first-division side BK Häcken visitors to the Red Bull Arena

Another European campaign begins! Die Roten Bullen's quest to qualify for the Europa League group phase sees them take on Swedish top-flight side BK Häcken in the second round. Thursday's first leg (18:30 CEST kick-off) will mark the start of the competitive season for Ralf Rangnick's side. Macedonian referee Aleksandar Stavrev will take charge of the game.

The OPPONENTS

The visitors from Sweden are already in competitive mode, with the Allsvenskan season almost halfway done. Their dress rehearsal for Thursday's clash with RBL ended in defeat for Markus Alm's side, with Djurgardens running out 2-1 winners. Häcken currently sit tenth in the table.

The side from Gothenburg overcame Latvian runners-up FK Liepāja 4-2 on aggregate to secure their place in the second qualifying round. Brazilian Paulinho was on the scoresheet for them in the 3-0 first-leg vistory, one of the key players for the Swedish outfit.

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Erik Friberg, Christoffer Källqvist, Paulinho and Rasmus Lindgren (from left to right) could be BK Häcken's key players

KEY players

  • Erik Friberg: The twice-capped Sweden international joined BK Häcken in 2017 after winning the MLS with Seattle Sounders. Friberg actually played alongside Emil Forsberg at Malmö FF, winning the league in 2013.
     
  • Christoffer Källqvist: The 34-year-old has been between the sticks in 253 competitive games for Häcken so far. He is the club's longest serving player and record appearance holder. Källqvist has twice been promoted to the Allsvenskan with them and celebrated his greatest success in 2016 when the club won the Swedish Cup.
     
  • Paulinho: The Brazilian is BK Häcken's all-tiime record goalscorer with 56 goals in 153 games. The winger has impressed so far this season too, topping the league's charts with nine goals in twelve matches.
     
  • Rasmus Lindgren: The captain brings the experience of 37 European games and a number of titles to the defensive Häcken line. The 33-year-old has won the domestic double with both Ajax and Red Bull Salzburg during his career.
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Ralf Rangnick is set for his first competitive game as a coach since leading RBL to Bundesliga promotion in 2016
UEFA Europa League, 2nd-round qualifier
RB Leipzig

THU

23rd July

BK Häcken
18:30 CEST
RB-Arena , Leipzig
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