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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 11 November, 2019

The team who gave Man United a scare and all you need to know about the Irish sides' European opponents

Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Derry and Cork all discovered their Europa/Champions League fate earlier.

Rosenborg fans (file pic).
Rosenborg fans (file pic).
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

Rosenborg (Dundalk’s opponents)

  • The club are coached by former Norway international Kåre Ingebrigtsen, who played 17 times for Man City between 1992 and 1994.
  • The squad comprises largely of Norwegian players, though they are captained by Danish international Mike Jensen.
  • Their most famous player, meanwhile, is another Dane — ex-Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.
  • They are based in Trondheim, Norway and play their home matches at the Lerkendal Stadion, which has a capacity of 21,400.
  • They are Norway’s most successful team, having won 24 league titles, including 13 in a row between 1991 and 2004.
  • The team finished 1st in the 2016 season of the Norwegian league (Tippeligaen), while they currently top the 2017 edition by a point after 13 games.
  • They qualified for the group stages 11 times during their most successful period in the 1990s and early 2000s, reaching the quarter-finals in the 1996-97 campaign, though they have struggled to enjoy quite the same levels of success in more recent years.
  • The club’s sporting director will be familiar to older Liverpool fans – Stig Inge Bjørnebye made over 100 appearances for the Reds between 1992 and 2000 and also had a stint at Blackburn for three years thereafter.
  • They have met League of Ireland opposition in Champions League qualifiers before, beating a Stephen Kenny-managed Bohemians 5-0 on aggregate in 2003, as well as overcoming Shelbourne 4-1 on aggregate in 1999. More recently, they overcame Sligo Rovers in a 2014 Europa League qualifier 4-3 on aggregate

Levadia Tallinn (Cork City’s opponents)

  • The club who are based in Tallinn, Estonia, were founded as recently as 1998.
  • They play all their home games in the 5,000-capacity Kadriorg Stadium.
  • Levadia finished second in the 2016 edition of the Meistriliiga, while they are also second in the 2017 league, trailing rivals Flora by four points.
  • Despite their relatively recent arrival on the footballing scene, they have already won nine Estonian league titles and eight Estonian cups.
  • Their squad has no star names and is mostly made up of Estonians, though they have two foreign players on loan from Middlesbrough — Ghanaian William Opoku Asiedu and Brazilian João Morelli.
  • Their coach, 50-year-old Igor Prins, is an ex-Estonia international in his second spell in charge at the club, taking over last year, having previously managed them between 2008 and 2010.

FC Midtjylland (Derry City’s opponents)

  • The club are based in Herning, Denmark, and were founded in 1999.
  • They play their home matches in the MCH Arena, which has a capacity of 11,800.
  • They finished fifth in the 2016-17 edition of the Danish Superliga, before winning a European playoff.
  • Matthew Benham, their majority shareholder, is also the owner of Championship side Brentford.
  • They have won the Danish title only once — in the 2014-15 campaign.
  • Their recent track record in the Europa League is impressive enough — they got as far as the playoff last season, while they reached the round of 32 in 2015-16, before losing 6-3 on aggregate to Louis van Gaal’s Man United, despite a 2-1 home win in the first leg.
  • Notable ex-players include West Ham’s Winston Reid, highly-rated Danish international Simon Kjær and Celtic’s Erik Sviatchenko.
  • Their current squad includes 34-year-old Rafael van der Vaart — the former Real Madrid and Tottenham star who has earned over 100 caps for the Netherlands.

Stjarnan (Shamrock Rovers’ opponents)

  • The club are based in Garðabær, Iceland and play their home games in the Samsungvöllur stadium, which has a capacity of 1,000.
  • They were founded in 1960.
  • They finished second in the 2016 Úrvalsdeild (Icelandic league) and are currently six points off the lead in third in the current edition with seven games played.
  • In the 2014-15 campaign, they missed out on the Europa League group stages in a playoff, overcoming Motherwell and Lech Poznan, before being thrashed 9-0 on aggregate against Inter Milan.
  • Their squad is made up entirely of Icelandic players.
  • They have only ever won the league title once, in 2014.
  • They came up against Celtic in last year’s Champions League qualifiers, but were well beaten 6-1 on aggregate.
  • The club are also renowned for their association with four other sports — handball, basketball, volleyball and gymnastics.

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Paul Fennessy

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