Having both dropped down from the Champions League qualifying rounds, Lincoln Red Imps welcome Slovan Bratislava to the Victoria Stadium for the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round battle.
The Gibraltar giants were sent packing by CFR Cluj in Europe's elite competition, whereas Bratislava ended up on the wrong end of the scoreline against Young Boys last time out.
A five-star performance from Lincoln Red Imps against Fola Esch saw the 25-time Gibraltar National League champions recover from a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League first round qualifying tie, as Liam Walker and Tjay De Barr both struck twice in a 5-0 second-leg rout of the Luxembourg side.
However, a clash with Romanian outfit Cluj proved to be a step too far for the Red Imps, who suffered a 2-1 defeat on home soil before losing 2-0 away from home, which ended their hopes of a first-ever appearance in the third qualifying round of Europe's premier tournament.
Unsurprisingly, Mike McElwee's side have never managed to make the group stages of a continental competition since becoming fully-fledged UEFA members in 2014, but the 2021-22 season does at least mark the first time ever that the Red Imps have got this far in either the Champions League or Europa League.
Should the Gibraltar side manage to upset the odds and progress as far as the playoff round, they will face the losers of Olympiacos and Ludogorets' Champions League tie for the right to reach the proper tournament and make history for their fellow Gibraltarians.
Meanwhile, Slovan Bratislava were given quite the scare against Shamrock Rovers during their inaugural Champions League tie of the season but ultimately prevailed 3-2 on aggregate - despite a 2-1 second-leg defeat - to set up a tense encounter with Swiss giants Young Boys.
Having managed to hold their opponents to a goalless stalemate in the first leg, Vladimir Weiss's side quickly found themselves 3-0 down against Young Boys and seemed to be exiting with a whimper, but Ezekiel Henty's quickfire brace made things interesting before Bratislava ultimately bowed out.
Another shot at making the promised land in the Champions League has gone begging, but Bratislava know what it takes to make the group stages of the Europa League having most recently done so in the 2019-20 season, and they have warmed up for this tie in ideal fashion with two dominant domestic performances.
Indeed, Weiss's men began their Fortuna Liga title defence with a 4-1 success at Liptovsky Mikulas before prevailing 2-0 against Trencin on July 31, during which Weiss's son and namesake - 31-year-old attacker Vladimir Weiss - did his absent father proud with the opener from the penalty spot.
Red Imps left-back Ethan Britto will be forced to sit out this tie having accrued three bookings during their short-lived Champions League run, so Argentinian attacker Brian Gomez could feature out wide.
After claiming two goals and three assists from his side's battles with Fola Esch, 21-year-old forward De Barr missed the Cluj battle entirely before being pictured on trial for Wycombe Wanderers.
The 24-cap Gibraltar international has not been included in the squad for this game, either, which should see Kike Gomez keep his spot at the forefront of the attack.
In contrast, Bratislava must work around a depleted midfield for this battle due to injuries, with David Holman's cruciate ligament rupture keeping him on the sidelines, although Alen Mustafic has seemingly recovered from an unspecified issue to make the squad.
Left-back Lucas Lovat will not make the journey as he battles back from an injury of his own, but a raft of changes could still be in order as the visitors juggle domestic and continental commitments.
Bratislava manager Weiss was himself absent from the touchline against Trencin due to illness, but his ailment is not thought to be coronavirus and he should make the journey to oversee the first leg.
Lincoln Red Imps possible starting lineup:
Soler; Wiseman, Chipolina, Lopes, Toscano; Yahaya, Torrilla; Walker, Rosa, B. Gomez; K. Gomez
Slovan Bratislava possible starting lineup:
Chovan; Medvedev, Kashia, Bozhikov, De Marco; De Kamps, Kankava; Hrncar, Weiss, Ratao; Henty
We say: Lincoln Red Imps 1-3 Slovan Bratislava
Bratislava were able to rotate and rest some of their big-hitters for their league battle at the weekend - which paid dividends during a routine success - and the Slovakian champions ought to make that competitive edge count here.
The Red Imps held their own against Cluj and are not to be written off, but we still expect Bratislava to take a healthy lead into next week's second leg.