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Champions League | First Qualifying Round | 1st Leg
Jul 10, 2024 at 8pm UK
Gradski Stadion

Borac Banja Luka
1 - 0
Egnatia Rrogozhine

Hrelja (90+6')
Vukovic (36')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Dulysse (36'), Aleksi (37'), Fangaj (49'), Ndreca (63'), Aliyev (63'), Xhemajli (90+15')
Zejnullai (58'), Ndreca (90+11')

Preview: Borac Banja Luka vs. Egnatia Rrogozhine - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Borac Banja Luka and Egnatia Rrogozhine, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Borac Banja Luka will take on Egnatia Rrogozhine on Wednesday at the Gradski Stadion in the first leg of their Champions League first-qualifying round matchup.

The hosts have taken part in qualifying twice previously but have fallen to aggregate defeats on both occasions, while the visitors are set to make their debut in this competition.

Match preview

After a series of relegations and promotions between 2015-16 and 2018-19, Borac Banja Luka have gone on to become a formidable force in the Premijer Liga, finishing in the top four in all five campaigns since their most recent return to the top flight in 2019-20, including title victories in 2020-21 and 2023-24.

Despite their success in the league, Borac Banja Luka have failed to impress in European competitions with aggregate defeats in all of their last five qualification attempts, last winning in the first qualifying round for the 2020-21 Europa League.

The Red-Blues have been unfortunate to come up against teams with much more European experience in those matches, but this time they are set to come up against an Egnatia Rrogozhine side that have only played two matches in Europe, both in the first round of qualifying for last season's Europa Conference League.

Following last campaign's title victory, manager Vinko Marinovic left the club by mutual agreement, citing a desire for a new stage in his career, with Mladen Zizovic replacing him ahead of the new season.

As for the visitors, they have undergone a phenomenal rise to the top of Albanian football in recent years, getting promoted to the top flight for just the second time in their history ahead of the 2021-22 campaign before going on to place eighth, third and first in the following three seasons.

Egnatia Rrogozhine have featured once before in European competition when they played in the first qualifying round for the Europa Conference League last season, but they went on to lose on penalties after a 5-5 aggregate draw over two legs against FC Ararat-Armenia.

Edlir Tetova, who has been in charge of the club since January 2023, will have the opportunity to create history in Albanian football if he is to take his side to the Champions League group stage, something no Albanian club has managed in this competition.

Egnatia were at their best when playing on the road throughout last campaign, losing just four of their 18 away games in the league, and they will be relying on that away form in this one.

Borac Banja Luka form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Egnatia Rrogozhine form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L

Team News

Borac Banja Luka have played three friendly matches since their domestic season ended over a month ago, picking up two wins and a draw, and Zizovic should have a fully fit squad to choose from for his first competitive match in charge.

Jovo Lukic finished as the team's top scorer last campaign with 12 goals from 31 league appearances, and the striker is expected to start in the attack for his team here.

Arbin Zejnulai scored six times from midfield for Egnatia Rrogozhine in the league last year and is expected to start in the middle of the park in this game.

Tetova will be hoping his side can get back to the form that saw them pick up their first-ever top-flight league title last season with his team currently three games without a victory in their pre-season matches.

Borac Banja Luka possible starting lineup:
Milicevic; Kvrzic, Celic, Carolina, Herrera; Grahovac, Vranjes; Kulasin, Djajic, Lukic; Vukovic

Egnatia Rrogozhine possible starting lineup:
Sherri; Fangaj, Dulysse, Malota, Xhemajli, Ndreca; Aleksi, Spahiu, Zejnulai; Ibrahimoglu, Montenegro

SM words green background

We say: Borac Banja Luka 1-1 Egnatia Rrogozhine

Neither team has much experience competing at this level and both will want to stay in the game ahead of the second leg in Albania, leading us to expect this one to be a cagey affair and to end in a draw.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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