PSV Eindhoven will be looking to take a big step towards the Europa League group stages when they host Cypriot side Apollon Limassol on Thursday. Kick off is at 7.30pm BST.

PSV Eindhoven struggled to overcome Norwegian side Haugesund in the last round. Mark van Bommel’s side won 1-0 away from home but struggled to a 0-0 draw in Eindhoven which saw them sneak into the playoff round.

Now, standing between them and the group stages of the Europa League is Cypriot side Apollon Limassol.

The media have made PSV big favourites for the tie, but Van Bommel is taking nothing for granted, “We cannot be so arrogant that we say that we will continue in Europe for a while.

“In the Netherlands we are very good at putting down how good we are. If things go wrong, we can’t do anything about it at once. We want to qualify for the Europa League, but that will not be easy. “

PSV warmed up for the clash with a 2-0 victory over Heracles at the weekend which moved them joint top of the Eredivisie on seven points.

Opponents Apollon Limassol have already came through three qualifying to reach this point of the competition. The Cypriots were too strong for Kauno Zalgiris, Shamrock Rovers and then Austria Vienna in the last round.

Van Bommel expects a physical battle from an experienced side Apollon, “They are big and strong, have on average seven years more football in their legs than we do. That is not bad, because we have very agile, fast and smart players.”

Team News

Bruma is out injured while Michal Sadilek is suspended for the clash after picking up three yellow cards in Europe this season.

Olivier Boscagli is likely to start at left-back while Mohamed Ihattaren could play on the right-wing with Steven Bergwijn at number ten.

Possible PSV line-up: Zoet, Dumfries, Boscagli, Viergever, Baumgartl, Rosario, Gutierrez, Bergwijn, Ihattaren, Gakpo, Malen

Apollon Limassol has an experienced squad that features several nationalities. Former Monaco winger Serge Gakpe is a dangerman with two goals already in the competition. Former Middlesbrough and Birmingham City full-back Emilio Nsue is also on the club’s books.

Possible Apollon line-up: Mall, Kyriaku, Szalai, Yuste, Markovic, Pereyra, Aguirre, Gakpe, Pedro, Sardinero, Gianniotas

Odds

PSV 4/11 Draw 15/4 Apollon 7/1

What to expect from the first-leg

PSV have been far from convincing in the league and Europe so far this season but they will be eager to book a big win on Thursday that puts them within touching distance of the group stages.

However, Apollon Limassol showed against Austria Vienna that they are a dangerous team that cannot be underestimated.

Apollon have an experienced side that will look to sit deep and hit PSV on the counter. Van Bommel will be hoping his sides pacey attack can pick holes in the visitors defence.

An early goal for PSV could lead to a convincing victory, but if it stays 0-0 for a while then the home side will get nervous like they did in the last round against Haugesund.

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