Three players set to upset British teams in the Europa League
A trip to Belgrade, an encounter with a Red Bull-backed Austrian league bully and the arrival of some Wolves at Goodison Park – it could only happen on a Europa League night.
And while hopes will be high that Tottenham, Everton and Celtic can all celebrate opening day wins in the competition, there are few very special opposing players who will be keen to upset the applecart.
Featuring favourites from Wolfsburg, Partizan Belgrade and Red Bull Salzburg – here are three stars who could fire their respective sides to glory in this competition.
Jonathan Soriano – Red Bull Salzburg
A former Espanyol and Barcelona B player, Soriano has flourished since moving to Austria with a stunning 77 goals in 81 appearances for Salzburg to date.
Current club captain, the 28-year-old emerged as a surprise target for Newcastle United over the summer after impressing in last season’s Europa League with a tally of eight goals, including one memorable long-range effort in the team’s shock 6-1 aggregate triumph over Ajax in the last 32.
Top scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga last term, a goal against Celtic could show the Magpies what they ultimately missed out on.
Andrija Zivkovic – Partizan Belgrade
A tricky winger who Benfica tried to sign over the summer, Zivkovic is the next big thing in Serbian football, having broken into the Partizan first team at just 17 last season, going on to score five goals in 23 outings for the Belgrade giants.
He became the club’s youngest ever captain back in March at just 17 years, seven months and 18 days and will be the focal point of Partizan’s attack when they entertain Tottenham.
An efficient provider of goals, who is capable of playing either out wide or centrally, Zivkovic has already been capped twice by Serbia and will use the visit of Spurs as an opportunity to further showcase his abilities and earn a big money move abroad.
Ivica Olic – Wolfsburg
The man most famous among Chelsea fans for missing a crucial penalty for Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final has enjoyed something of a renaissance late in his career after moving to Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg.
No spring chicken at 35 years of age, Olic recently signed a two-year contract extension at the club to keep him there until 2016 and after scoring 25 goals in 66 games for the Wolves you can see why.
A versatile striker who can operate on the flanks or as an out-and-out poacher, the Croatian is already off the mark in the Bundesliga this season with two goals in three games and will prove a handful at Goodison Park.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £100 in free bets.