The new season is about to get underway for both Heart of Midlothian and Aberdeen, as each embark on their Europa League journey. The Jam Tarts will be looking to continue the improvement they’ve experienced under boss Robbie Neilson, while the Dons will be looking to conjure up the spirit of 1983.
Hearts face little-known Infonet Tallinn, while the Pittodrie outfit are up against Luxembourg’s Fola Esch. So, here’s a guide to what to expect for both sets of fans.
Infonet Tallinn (Estonia):
Who are they? – Founded in 2002 by the merger of two former clubs in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, Infonet reached the Meistriliga (top-flight) in 2012 and have continued to impress since.
The pub quiz fact – Infonet equalled Arbroath’s historic 36-0 cup win over Bon Accord when they beat amateur side Virtsu by that same scoreline in last season’s Estonian Cup.
About the ground – The Tallinn outfit play their home games at the 400-capacity Lasnamae KJH Stadium, but demand for this game has seen the fixture moved to the national stadium – the A. Le Coq Arena -, a far plusher affair holding 9,692 fans.
What can Hearts expect? – Infonet are currently in second spot in the league, having been the division’s top scorers so far. They’re also midway through their domestic campaign, meaning fitness shouldn’t be an issue.
However, the Estonian league has one of the lowest UEFA coefficients – ranked 47th out of 54 leagues, below the likes of Luxembourg, Montenegro, and Macedonia. Scotland, meanwhile, is ranked 25th.
And that gulf in class is reflected in the betting here, with Hearts 3/10 for a first-leg home victory, meaning the best value here could be on 12/1 for the Tynecastle side to win by a 4-0 scoreline.
Fola Esch (Luxembourg):
Who are they? – Unlike Hearts’ opponents, Fola Esch certainly have plenty of history, having been founded in 1909. But fans of the south Luxembourg outfit have had to wait for their time in the spotlight, with the club finally ending an 83-year wait for a league title in 2013.
The pub quiz fact – Legendary Morocco midfielder Mustapha Hadji joined the club in 2007, staying with Fola for three seasons and scoring an impressive 25 goals in 44 league games.
About the ground – A humble ground with a main stand, an athletics track and terracing, the Stade Emile Mayrisch holds 3,900 fans. But while there’s nothing too memorable about the ground itself, the picturesque town of Esch-sur-Alzette will prove a real treat for visiting Dons fans.
What can Aberdeen expect? – Chances are that Aberdeen will find it difficult to break Fola down in the first leg at Pittodrie, with the Luxembourgers having conceded just twice in their last three European away games.
However, the quality of Adam Rooney, Ryan Jack and Peter Pawlett should be enough to break them down eventually, with a 1-0 Dons victory (14/1) and a half-time draw, full-time Aberdeen win selection (13/4) looking the best bets ahead of this one.
Both games take place on Thursday June 30, and you can enjoy our great odds on these games and all the Europa League action here.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.