The Hungarian champion team, after missing out on the Champions League due to the last round’s double defeat to Young Boys, found itself in a very difficult group after the draw.
Ferencváros is participating in the group stage of a major European competition for the third time in a row. After the Europa League and last year’s Champions League, the green-white team hoped to duplicate last year’s success. Swiss team Young Boys did not seem unbeatable, but due to the Hungarian team’s poor defending, Ferencváros will not be able to prove its worth in Europe’s number one competition this year. On the other hand, the Europa League is also a prestigious tournament, so they really have everything to play for.
Strangely enough, despite their success in the last two seasons, Ferencváros was put in the fourth pot, which meant that they will have to face three higher-rated opponents. On this level no group is easy, but as it turns out, Fradi got one of the toughest groups (Group G) with Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Celtic (Scotland), and Real Betis (Real Betis).
Of course, Ferencváros will not enter the pitch with their hands held up in submission. They have proved their strength over the past two years, and on paper the team has only got stronger. It may also give them hope that in last year’s CL-qualification they beat Celtic in Glasgow, which meant the Scottish club’s farewell from the tournament.
The teams that finish first and second qualify for the next round of the Europa League. It would be a remarkable but not impossible achievement if Ferencváros could be among them.
Featured photo illustration by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI