The hosts finished the regular Eredivisie season in seventh place, one place and four points behind their opponents Vitesse in sixth.
Despite only winning two of their final 13 league games of the season, Utrecht did enough to finish inside the top eight and remain in contention for European qualification.
Back-to-back score draws against PEC Zwolle and AZ Alkmaar were followed by a disappointing 3-0 defeat on the final day at relegated Willem II last weekend, their 11th loss of the campaign.
After three successive sixth-place finishes, Rick Kruys's men had to settle for seventh spot this term, but their season is not over as they now have the chance to move one step closer to securing European qualification for the first time since 2010-11 when they competed in the Europa League.
Success on Thursday, however, could prove challenging for Utrecht as they have failed to beat Vitesse in any of their last five meetings.
After beating Fortuna Sittard 2-1 away from home, Vitesse ended the regular campaign with a respectable 2-2 draw at home to Eredivisie champions Ajax.
Thomas Letsch's side were leading 2-1 thanks to a four-minute brace midway through the second half from Lois Openda, but an 87th-minute equaliser from Edson Alvarez forced both sides to settle for a point.
Vitesse will now turn their attention to the Europa Conference League playoffs as they bid to qualify for the competition for the second successive year, after reaching the last-16 stage earlier this season.
The Arnhem-based outfit have fared better away from home this term, claiming 30 points on the road in comparison to 21 accumulated on home soil.
Vitesse head to the Stadion Galgenwaard unbeaten in their last five visits, including the 1-1 draw in February and the 3-1 victory last season.
Utrecht duo Reda Akmum and Naoki Maeda are still recovering from long-term knee injuries, while goalkeeper Fabian De Keijzer is set to miss out due to a thigh problem, with Eric Oelschlagel to retain his spot between the sticks as a result.
Openda, who netted his 17th and 18th Eredivisie goals of the season against Ajax, is expected to lead the line along with Adrian Grbic.
FC Utrecht possible starting lineup:
Oelschlagel; Ter Avest, Van der Hoorn, Janssen, Warmerdam; Van Overeem, Maher, Timber; Douvikas, Van de Streek, Boussaid
Vitesse possible starting lineup:
Schubert; Bazoer, Doekhi, Cornelisse; Dasa, Tronstad, Bero, Domgjoni, Manhoef; Grbic, Openda
We say: FC Utrecht 1-2 Vitesse
Considering the form of both sides and the recent head-to-head meetings, Vitesse will be considered as favourites for Thursday's contest.
Utrecht are unbeaten in their last three home games, but we can see that run coming to an end, with the visitors taking a slender advantage into Sunday's second leg.
For additional data used by our team to analyse our suggested result please click here.