Everyone knows who the stars of Liverpool, Ajax, Lazio, Napoli and Tottenham are when they play little-known outfits in the Europa League.
But isn’t it about time some of those minnows’ own big fish get their share of the spotlight?
Ahead of the first round of matches in the competition, here are five names to watch out for from the lesser teams:
Nemanja Nikolic – Striker, Legia Warsaw
Legia’s line-leader is arguably the most in-form frontman in the Europa League having netted eight times in as many Ekstraklasa outings for the Polish side this season.
Having switched from Hungarian outfit Videoton this summer, the 27-year-old made an immediate impact on the Militarians when notching five times in his opening three league games.
Throw in Europa League qualifiers and Nikolic has 10 goals in total for the Henning Berg-managed side. He is 23/10 to score at any time against FC Midtjylland.
Reynaldo – Striker, FK Qarabag
As the Azerbaijani side travel to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham in their Europa League opener, it’ll be their Brazilian striker that shoulders much of their attacking responsibilities.
Although he is yet to hit peak form so far this term, the 26-year-old has bagged twice in the club’s various European qualifiers and has 10 Europa League goals to his name from his time touring Belgian clubs Anderlecht, Westerloo and Cercle Brugge.
Nikita Korzun – Midfielder, Dinamo Minsk
The Belarusian youngster is in the Xabi Alonso mould, sitting deep in midfield, screening the defence and spraying passes to teammates.
Integral to the way Minsk play, Korzun is yet to get on the scoresheet this season but has started countless attacks with his passing range, while performing important defensive duties too.
Mikkel Andersen – Goalkeeper, FC Midtjylland
There is perhaps no more stubborn outfit in the Europa League than the under-2.5-goal-obsessed Danes.
Andersen usually splits stopping duties with Swede Johan Dahlin, but with the latter out injured, the 26-year-old will be charged with protecting Midtjylland’s outstanding record of never conceding more than one goal in a game this term.
Florentin Pogba – Defender, St Etienne
Speaking of stellar defences, St Etienne’s isn’t bad either and has a Pogba brother at the heart of it.
Florentin, elder brother to Juve’s Paul and twin to Partick Thistle’s Mathias, has been a dominant and calming figure for the French club as they have strung a six-game unbeaten streak together coming into the group phase.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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