AZ Alkmaar begin their Europa League campaign with the first leg of the third round qualifier against Turkish side Medipol Basaksehir.

janssen az aaaaAZ pipped Feyenoord to third place in the Eredivisie last season to earn their place in the Europa League, but to go further in the competition they must get through a tricky looking tie against Basaksehir, who finished fourth in the Turkish Super Lig last season.

Coach John van den Brom is expecting a tough tie from the Istanbul club, “It is a team with great experience, even though they are playing for the first time in the Europa League. We miss that experience, but you need to play games to gain that experience. For us that is also immediately the biggest challenge, ”

AZ Alkmaar have lost Steven Berghuis, Simon Poulsen and Nemanja Gudelj this summer, but the signing of Almere City striker Vincent Janssen looks inspired, with the youngster netting ten times during pre-season. He and Jop van der Linden could be in line to make their competitive debuts for the club, while Aron Johannsson could play despite just returning from international duty with USA at the Gold Cup.

Probable AZ Alkmaar line-up: Rochet, Johansson, Haps, Gouweleeuw, Van der Linden, Henriksen, Ortiz, Van Overeem, Tankovic, Dos Santos, Janssen

Basaksehir have an experienced squad which includes former Newcastle and Inter Milan star Emre Belozoglu, striker Semih Senturk, who was a star at Fenerbahce earlier in his career, and Turkish international goalkeeper Volkan Babacan. This may be their first time in the Europa League, but the club clearly have a lot of talent after finishing in 4th behind the powerhouses Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas.

Probable Basaksehir line-up: Babacan, Ucar, Oztorum, Cansev, Irtegun, Tekdemir, Emre, Mossoro, Visca, Madureira, Senturk

AZ Alkmaar have been given a good chance of reaching the next round of the competition, but they will need to keep their concentration level’s high against such an experienced side. Taking a one or two goal lead to Turkey next week will be crucial for progression, and with Vincent Janssen showing such good form, he could make the difference on Thursday.

Prediction: AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Basaksehir




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