Not being ones to sit on their hands and let time slip by, UEFA have already drawn the ties for the third qualifying round of the Europa League. Yes, I’m aware that we’re currently only half way through this tie but this is UEFA’s want.
If the Whites manage to overcome Crusaders in the second leg at the Cottage next week we’ll be facing a trip to either Croatia or Slovenia. Yeah, we dodged a bullet and avoided a gruelling trip to the sunshine in Cyprus or Spain and instead head east.
Croatian side RNK Split finished third in their league last season after only gaining promotion to the top tier the previous season. The RNK stands for Workmans Football Club and they were originally founded as an anarchists football team. I bet they had fun away days. Currently holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg they’ll host the return game at their Park Mladezi ground, which holds around 8,000 spectators. This would be a return to Croatian for Fulham for the first time since we popped out there twice in quick succession in our first European adventure when we played their neighbours Hajduk Split (who have also been drawn against English opposition in the form of Stoke in this round) and following that Dinamo Zagreb.
Should we head to Slovenia we’ll face Slovenian opposition for the first time in the form of NK Domzale. Winners of last seasons Slovenian Supercup, NK are based in the Sportni Park in Domzale. It sounds as you’d imagine a small Slovenian city to be like. Though they are proud and make big boasts of their traditional music scene and that they’re home to Slovenia’s most powerful radio mast. Needless to say travelling to either one will be a lot of fun.
Whoever we play, the first leg will be played away from home on the 28th July with the return game a week later at the cottage on the 4th August.