Dnipro-1 will entertain AZ at Kosicka Futbalova Arena in their UEFA Europa Conference League Group E clash on Thursday.
Despite playing as hosts, the Ukrainian team will be based in the Slovak city of Kosice due to the tough situation back home. Their domestic league was discontinued in late February, forcing Dnipro-1 to adopt a weekly schedule of friendly matches in preparation for the Europa League playoffs.
When they crashed out, they joined the Conference League and will be opening their Group E campaign against AZ. The Dutch giants are the outright favorites to win the clash but Dnipro-1 will endeavor to stay in the race.
AZ have scored a total of 18 goals thus far in the competition, between the second qualifying round and the playoffs, while conceding only twice. Kaaskoppen have glory in their sights and do not intend to relive their round of 16 debacle in the previous edition.
They are the team to beat in Group E, where Cypriot side Apollon and Vaduz of Liechtenstein are also based. Dnipro-1 are not a particularly formidable challenge for AZ, even while on the road, but ill-timed injuries to three key players is a cause for concern.
Dnipro-1 will enjoy the support of locals in addition to some of the Ukrainians who have crossed the border to take shelter in Slovakia.
Dnipro-1 vs AZ Head-to-Head
The two sides are yet to meet in any of the UEFA competitions.
Dnipro-1 form guide (all competitions): W-W-L-L-D
AZ form guide (all competitions): W-D-W-W-W
Dnipro-1 vs AZ News
Coach Oleksandr Kucher has built his team around his top defenders Volodymyr Adamyuk and Oleksandr Svatok, who are guarantors of the squad’s cohesion and solidity. Their services will be in high demand against AZ.
Centre-back Zinho Vanheusden is facing fitness issues while midfielder Riechedly Bazoer and left winger Jesper Karlsson are battling muscle injuries.
Injury: Zinho Vanheusden, Riechedly Bazoer, Jesper Karlsson.
Dnipro-1 vs AZ News Predicted Xls
Dnipro-1 (4-1-4-1): Max Walef (GK), Yanis Hamache, Oleksandr Svatok, Volodymyr Adamiuk, Busanello, Oleksandr Pikhalyonok, Artem Gromov, Ruslan Babenko, Oleksii Gutsuliak, Eduard Sarapii, Artem Dovbyk
AZ (4-3-3): Hobie Verhulst (GK), Pantelis Chatzidiakos, Sam Beukema, Maxim Dekker, Milos Kerkez, Jordy Clasie, Dani De Wit, Tijani Reijnders, Hakon Evjen, Myron van Brederode, Jens Odgaard
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Dnipro-1 vs AZ News Prediction
AZ have lost only once in their last five away fixtures, with nine goals scored and one conceded. They will look beyond the Dnipro challenge, as they eye the group's top spot.
AZ have what it takes to overcome the Ukrainians in Kosice.
Prediction: Dnipro 1-3 AZ
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