Bala Town will travel to Standard Liege of Belgium in the Second Qualifying Round of the UEFA Europa League.
UEFA conducted the Second Qualifying Round at their headquarters in Nyon Switzerland today (Monday 31st of August) with the Lakesiders drawing against Standard Liege in a home tie, however the fixture has been ultimately reversed.
The venue for the match is confirmed to be the Stade Maurice Dufrasne in Liege. The date for the fixture is confirmed to be the 17th of September with kick off to be 7:00pm BST and 8:00pm CEST. Fans are still unable to attend due to the COVID-19 crisis.
A little about the club we’ll be facing in Standard Liege…
Standard Liege are a big name on the European Stage, having played over 200 games in various European competitions over their 122 year history. Liege are a Belgian professional side who are based in the city of Liege. They are regarded as one of the most successful clubs in Belgium, having captured 10 Belgian League Titles, and being in the Belgian Top Divison since 1921, which is the longest top flight run of any team in Belgium. Throughout their 200+ European fixtures, they have reached two European Finals in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1982 and the UEFA Inertoto Cup in 1996.
The only Welsh club they have faced, are Cardiff City in the English Football League, squaring off against them twice in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and 1993, both times overcoming the Welsh side over two legs. Their most recent European adventure was in the 2019-2020 Europa League season, where they would automatically enter the Group Stage and face off against Vitoria Guimaraes, Eintracht Frankfurt and Arsenal, however would bow out at the Group Stage along with Vitoria Guimaraes. Liege enter the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League, having finished 5th in their the Belgian First Divison.
The Liege player are nicknamed ‘Les Rouches’ due to the red jersey they wear, with their most noticable player being Guy Hellers who picked up 474 appearances during a 17 year spell, Gilbert Bodart who featured 469 times during 2 spells of a combined 16 year spell and most recently their captain of 2008-2011, Steven Defour who lead the club to their first League Title in 25 years.
Standard’s last piece of silverware came in the 2017-18 season, where they would pick up the Belgian Cup for the 8th time in their history and in the same year came runners up in the Belgian League.
Currently, their most prolific goal scorer, is Belgian winger Maxime Lestienne who picked up 10 goals in 34 appearances last season. However in Europe last season, they managed only 6 goals in the Europa League group stage and were consequently out of Europe.
So far this season, central midfielder Samuel Bastien is their leading goal scorer with 2 goals in 2 appearances, with 4 league games already played for Liege.
Therefore the Lakesiders will host Standard Liege in a thrilling encounter for Bala, as they will host the Belgium side in just under 3 weeks time, with a date yet to be confirmed.