Pittodrie Stadium

Rijeka vs Aberdeen betting tips: Europa League qualifying match preview and predictions

Rijeka vs Aberdeen prediction: Rijeka 1-1 Aberdeen

Another big European night for Aberdeen.

The Dons have been excellent so far this season but this will be by far the toughest assignment they’ve faced.

The winners of this tie will meet either KAA Gent or AEK Larnaca in the play-off round.

Will Derek McIness’ side be in a strong position to get there after this first leg in Croatia?

Second round highlights: Chikhura Sachkhere 1-1 Aberdeen

Second round highlights: Aberdeen 5-0 Chikhura Sachkhere

Rijeka vs Aberdeen: Who will win?

Rijeka are odds-on favourites to come out on top in this first leg at 8/11.

Aberdeen won 3-0 at Stadion Rujevica in 2015 but are 7/2 to repeat that win.

A draw is 23/10.

Under 2.5 goals is 4/6.

Draw and under 2.5 goals is 3/1.

The Croatian side are 4/6 to progress; Aberdeen are 11/10 to qualify overall.

Antonio-Mirko Čolak  is expected to be the main threat for the hosts. He is 4/1 to score first and 8/5 to score anytime.

Sam Cosgrove meanwhile has been on fire for Aberdeen. He is 5/1 to open the scoring and 19/10 to net a, potentially, vital away goal.

Rijeka vs Aberdeen: Match preview

After finishing second in the Prva HNL last season, HNK Rijeka are looking to add to their relative recent success in Europe.

In 2013, they got through three qualifying rounds and qualified for the UEFA Europa League group stages for the very first time.

They have done so twice since; in 2014 and, most recently, in 2017.

However, last year, they suffered a shock defeat in this round to Norwegian minnows Sarpsborg 08 FF.

Their group stage participations have seen them welcome big European sides to Stadion Rujevica.

These include Real Betis, Olympique Lyonnais, Sevilla, Feyenoord and AC Milan.

They’ll be hoping that there are more big European nights to come in the not too distant future.

The league season in Croatia is well underway.

At the weekend, Rijeka beat Slaven Belupo 3-1 at home.

That win followed victories over NK Varaždin and NK Lokomotiva meaning they are one of three teams joint-top on nine points out of nine.

Igor Bišćan’s side are the favourites in this tie but will they take a lead to the granite city?

Europa League live streaming

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA – MARCH 15: The logo of the UEFA Europa League is seen prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund at the Red Bull Arena on March 15, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images,)

Will the Dons continue their excellent early season form?

There’s no doubt that this will be a tough test for Aberdeen but they couldn’t wish to head to Croatian in better form.

In the first qualifying round, despite two dominant displays, they only defeated Finnish side Rovaniemen Palloseura 4-2 on aggregate, winning both legs 2-1.

Then, they ground out a 1-1 draw in Georgia with Chikhura Sachkhere in the first leg of the second qualifying round.

But, the return match a week ago was a European night to remember.

A hat-trick from Sam Cosgrove helped them to a 5-0 demolition at Pittodrie.

He became only the fourth Dons player to score a European hat-trick in Aberdeen’s joint-biggest continental victory since 1982.

Then, at the weekend, they were involved in another goal-fest at home.

Two late goals saw them defeat Heart of Midlothian 3-2 in their Scottish Premiership opener.

This game will be a real test of this newly assembled side so will their good form continue in Croatia?

Rijeka team news vs Aberdeen

NYON, SWITZERLAND – JULY 18: The UEFA logo is seen on the UEFA Champions League trophy as it is prepared for the UEFA 2014/15 Champions League third qualifying rounds draw at the UEFA headquarters, The House of European Football, on July 18, 2014 in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images for UEFA)

Igor Bišćan is expected to name the same side that he’s picked in Rijeka’s last two games.

In fact, ten of this XI have played all three of their matches in 2019/20.

Croatian international goalkeeper Andrej Prskalo is one of those who’s been an ever present so far in the early part of this season.

As have the two centre-backs in front of him, Roberto Punčec and Dario Župarić.

Right-back Momčilo Raspopović has fallen out of favour so Zoran Kvržić, a winger by trade, will continue to fill in there.

Ivan Lepinjica anchors the midfield, allowing Tibor Halilović and Domagoj Pavičić to support the attack.

Right-winger Robert Murić and centre-forward Antonio-Mirko Čolak both have two goals to their names this season.

Can either of those fire their side to a home win here?

Aberdeen team news vs Rijeka

Scotland flag

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JANUARY 31: The Scottish flag is seen during the Scottish League Cup Semi-Final match between Dundee United and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on January 31, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

As for Aberdeen, they’ve made six signings this summer and four of those are expected to start this one.

Joe Lewis will be in goal hoping to add to his four clean sheets in European competition.

In defence, Scott McKenna reportedly handed in a transfer request on Monday but is still expected to line-up alongside Andrew Considine.

Left-back Greg Leigh scored on his debut last Thursday and will keep his place.

Ash Taylor and Mikey Devlin are both injured.

In midfield, two new recruits Funso Ojo and Jon Gallagher have both looked brilliant so far.

Ryan Hedges netted the winner off the bench on Sunday so is likely to come back into the side.

Sam Cosgrove meanwhile simply can’t stop scoring.

He has scored eight goals in five appearances this season meaning he now has 29 goals in his last 39 Aberdeen appearances.

Could he be the man to score a vital away goal in Croatia?

Predicted Rijeka line-up vs Aberdeen

Predicted Rijeka line-up vs Aberdeen

Predicted HNK Rijeka line-up vs Aberdeen.

Predicted Aberdeen line-up vs Rijeka

Predicted Aberdeen line-up vs Rijeka

Predicted Aberdeen line-up vs HNK Rijeka.

First round highlights: Aberdeen 2-1 RoPS

First round highlights: RoPS 1-2 Aberdeen

Premiership highlights: Aberdeen 3-2 Heart of Midlothian

The latest tweets from Rijeka pre Aberdeen

The latest tweets from Aberdeen pre Rijeka

All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

Scottish Premiership table

[league_table id=”11″]

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