Europa League Preview: Altidore to face Malmo, Celtic meets Atletico, and more

Altidore - Reuters

By CALEB SONNELAND

Jozy Altidore should make his Europa League debut tonight as AZ Alkmaar lines up against Swedish outfit Malmo FF.

Altidore, currently on a hot streak with his new club, has five goals in six appearances and has been an immediate hit for the Dutch side since signing in mid-July.

AZ Alkmaar was drawn into Group H with Austrians FK Austria Wien, FC Metalist Kharkiv of the Ukraine and Malmo.  Despite it being the first game of group play, AZ is tipped to progress from the group with ease.  

AZ is currently enjoying a high-flying start to the Dutch Premier League with four wins, a lone loss and a +11 goal difference.

ATLETICO MADRID FACES CELTIC

 In one of the more heavyweight clashes amidst the Europa League, La Liga's Atletico Madrid will line up against one half of Scotland's Old Firm in Celtic.

A group that many believe is a potential "group of death", the two sides were thrown into Group I with Udinese of Serie A and Rennes of Ligue 1.  

Atletico is currently languishing in the 14th position of La Liga after undergoing a difficult start to its campaign within the league.

In contrast, Celtic has shot up the Scottish Premier League table to second place with 15 points behind its old-time rivals Rangers FC who has 16 points.

ENGLAND WELL REPRESENTED IN GROUP PLAY

The English Premier League will have plenty of representatives in this year's Europa League competition with Tottenham, Stoke, Birmingham City and Fulham all carrying the banner for the EPL.

Tottenham gained entry to the competition after finishing 5th in the EPL, four points ahead of Liverpool and six points behind Arsenal.  It will kick off its campaign against Greeks PAOK Salonika. 

Stoke was awarded its place when it reached the FA Cup Final and Manchester City achieved a UEFA Champions League spot.  Dynamo Kiev will be its first contest in tonight's clash.

After winning the League Cup 2-1 over Arsenal, Birmingham was thrown into the pot for Europa, while Fulham will enjoy its second straight year in the competition after gaining entry via the Fair Play league. The two sides will face Braga and FC Twente, respectively.

AMERICANS IN ACTION

Altidore won't be the only one representing the United States tonight.

Brad Freidel could be between the sticks for Tottenham, and Steve Cherundolo will line up and captain Hannover as it faces Standard Liege.

Jermaine Jones, still contracted to Schalke 04, could face Steaua Bucuresti in Group J, while Clint Dempsey will assuredly be amongst Martin Jol's starting XI against FC Twente.

Sacha Kljestan has been a rock for Anderlecht recently and should find himself in its midfield to face AEK Athens, and Oguchi Onyewu could end up on the field for Sporting of Portugal.

Dominic Cervi should also be included in the squad for Celtic tonight against Atletico Madrid, and Jonathon Spector could well feature tonight in Birmingham's clash with Braga.

Here's the schedule in full:

1:00PM EST

GROUP A

Tottenham vs. PAOK Salonika

Shamrock Rovers vs. Rubin Kazan

GROUP B

FC Copenhagen vs. Vorskla

Hannover vs. Standard Liege

GROUP C

Hapoel Tel-Aviv vs. Rapid Bucuresti

PSV Eindhoven vs. Legia Warsaw

GROUP D

FC Zurich vs. Sporting Lisbon

Lazio vs. FC Vaslui

GROUP E

Besiktas vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Dynamo Kiev vs. Stoke City

GROUP F

PSG vs. SV Salzburg

Slovan Bratislava vs. Atletico Bilbao

3:05PM EST

GROUP G

Austria Vienna vs. FC Metalist Kharkiv

AZ Alkmaar vs. Malmo FF

GROUP H

Birmingham City vs. Braga

Club Brugge vs. NK Maribor

GROUP I

Atletico Madrid vs. Celtic

Udinese vs. Rennes 

GROUP J

Maccabi Haifa vs. AEK Larnaca

Steaua Bucuresti vs. Schalke 04

GROUP K

Fulham vs. FC Enschede

Wisla Krakow vs. Odense BK

GROUP L

Anderlecht vs. AEK Athens

SK Sturm Graz vs. Lokomotiv Moscow

—————–

Think Altidore can get off the mark tonight?  Who takes the points between Atletico Madrid and Celtic? Which of the Premier League four has the best chance of advancing?

Share your thoughts below

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50 Responses to Europa League Preview: Altidore to face Malmo, Celtic meets Atletico, and more

  1. torporindy says:

    Actually, Fulham was in the Europa League in 2009-2010. I don’t think they were in it last year, so it would be 2 out of 3 years.

  2. malkin says:

    LEGIA!!

  3. RK says:

    Celtic is in 2nd, to Rangers? Shocking!

    And Celtic only got in because Sion got kicked out…

  4. Shane says:

    I thought Fulham was playing Twente?

  5. 20 says:

    yea they are.. that’s what it says

  6. 20 says:

    although yea calling FC Twente: FC Enshede is kind of like calling Sounders FC: Seattle FC, it’s just not really correct

  7. 20 says:

    correct, they were not in it last year

  8. bryan says:

    we are still in “EDT” until mid November

  9. 20 says:

    also Birmingham is not in the Premier League

  10. andrew says:

    any link for paok vs tottenham?????

  11. Shark says:

    The English gentlemen calling the Hanover 96 game just hack and destroyed Cherundalo’s name…called him ‘Sure Un Dolo”….:)

  12. The Rude Awakening says:

    Cherundolo looks to be playing on the left. Is this a new development or has he played there before?

  13. g? says:

    Onyewu is playing! Good for him.

  14. g? says:

    Onyewu is playing! Good for him. Seriously!

  15. g? says:

    That he just gave up an indirect free in the box is less good…
    Lucky it hit the crossbar…

  16. RK says:

    Don’t you mean “Cherundolo”? ;)

  17. Shark says:

    Yes he has…my teenage daughter is a huge 96 fan so we watch theri games often…

  18. Andy in Atlanta says:

    SO no AZ match on DirecTV today… :o(

    was hoping to DVR it while I watched Fulham

  19. Predicto says:

    Fun to watch Cherundolo – he is integral to Han 96 team, both on D and going forward.

  20. John says:

    you don’t say? maybe it was because they used illegal players!

  21. Pez says:

    which isn’t too far worse than Celtic getting in because there’s two clubs in their league.

  22. RedLine55 says:

    Spector has started just about every B’ham game over the past month- -will likely start again against Braga. Has been playing D-Mid and doing well. They play in a half hour or so.

  23. Hush says:

    Goooooal jozy!!!!! … He has 16 goals in 12 games! Wooohooo… FIFA 12 that is.

  24. RK says:

    Gee, that was funny.

  25. Joamiq says:

    “Tottenham, Stoke, Birmingham City and Fulham all carrying the banner for the EPL” – except Birmingham, of course, is not in the EPL

  26. fifawitz1313 says:

    Holy Smokes Andy Johnson scored a goal.

  27. Judging Amy says:

    HOLY SSSSSSSS!!! Jozy with the ridiculous blast!!! My goodness! That was for the haters and the fans.

  28. Oaktown says:

    WOW — what a shot!

  29. Josh_# says:

    …and he scores a Golazo. Wow.

  30. chewp says:

    That.. just.. happened.

  31. Predicto says:

    Altidore is looking bright – but having a few too many poor touches – but that blast into the corner off a broken ball was special.

  32. okifeelthat says:

    JOOOOOOOOOOOLAAAAAAAAAAZZOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    WOW what a BLAST!

    No one was passing it to Jozy for the first couple of minutes so when he got a loose ball at the top of the box he decided to just rip it!!

  33. ManicMessiah says:

    Really good goal from Jozy. Twenty yards or at the top of the box, he rifled a shot top right of the goal, went through a defenders legs I think.

  34. Alex says:

    Well haters cant say “well its the dutch league and his goals will mostly be garbage goals”. That was all Jozy!!

  35. okifeelthat says:

    I was debating whether to watch Jozy or Dempsey…
    SO FREAKING GLAD I CHOSE JOZY! haha

  36. Swifty says:

    Cant watch the game so tell me: better or worse than the gold cup blast?

  37. Swifty says:

    Btw…jolazo: ridiculous….i f’ing love it

  38. malkin says:

    not a bad result losin’ 1-0 on the road to Eindhoven. We’ll get ‘em in Polska

  39. gene.sf says:

    Where are people watching this? I have Goal TV, but neither of those games is shown.

  40. Predicto says:

    I’m watching em both!

  41. Luke says:

    What kind of strange formation does Jol have Fulham playing? Why is Dempsey listed a defender? Brilliant managing when you take your best attacker and put him as a defender! No wonder Jol is managing a different team every year.

  42. Since 82 says:

    I’ve been saying it for a couple of years now. Altidore will be a beast by WC 2014.

  43. Predicto says:

    Come-on Fulham – you gotta get into the shooting mode. You’ve got the attack, where are your hard shots testing the keeper?

  44. Judging Amy says:

    Definitely thought Jozy was 22. He’s still 21 for like another two months.

  45. I went to a t d h e n e t dot t v and copy the name of the match and search it on google and got back a place to watch it… just in time for the jozy goal it was awesome….. during intermission they replied all of the highlights and the jozy goal got repeated like 20 times from about 5 different cameras

  46. malkin says:

    Own goal by Mark Schwarzer? How the F did that happen?

  47. Dank says:

    Assist for Kljestian on their fourth.

  48. Francois says:

    Is this twat on one of the streams really saying that Andy Johnson looked more threatening than Deuce? I mean, I understand he scored, but he didn’t look great other than that.

  49. PseudoNEmous Commenter says:

    No, no, you don’t understand. The players for Birmingham are actually literally carrying a banner for the English Premier League. The league asked them to, since it’s a really large non-figurative banner that it takes multiple teams to carry. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to upholding some standards around here. Literally.