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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Burnley set for a Europa battle in Istanbul

Sean Dyche faces tough test

Burnley defender Ben Mee (right)
1 of 1

Third qualifying round first legs
From 3pm Thursday

Having struggled to see off Aberdeen in their opening Europa League qualifying skirmish, Burnley can expect even more trouble against Turkish powers Istanbul Basaksehir.

Sean Dyche’s men only pipped the Dons in extra-time and will no doubt improve for the run.

But they’ll have to be better against the Istanbul side, a club who rub shoulders on merit with the big three of Turkish football.

Last year they finished third in the league, only two points behind champions Galatasaray.

The Fatih Terim Stadium will be rocking and the hosts' experienced squad is packed with battle-hardened internationals of the calibre of Gael Clichy, Arda Turan and Gokhan Inler.

This represents a serious test for the Clarets who don’t, on the face of it, look any stronger than last term.

Champions League regulars Basel failed to win a ninth straight Super League last season, finally paying the price for a colossal turnover of players.

Runners-up behind Young Boys, Basel still squeezed into Champions League qualifying but were immediately undone by Greek side PAOK.

That’s why they’ve wound up in the third qualifying round of the Europa League where they can expect another tough test at Vitesse Arnhem.

The Dutch club, managed by former CSKA Moscow, Russia and Hull boss Leonid Slutsky, have tapped into their Chelsea connections once again and recruited keeper Eduardo and talented young defender Jake Clarke-Salter to go with seven more new signings.

They finished the last domestic season superbly, saw off Gheorghe Hagi’s Viitorul in the previous round and can nick an advantage over a Basel side whose latest departures include keeper Tomas Vaclik, defender Michael Lang and flying winger Mohamed Elyounoussi, who has joined Southampton.

Basel have also started the season badly with just one win in five.

Elsewhere, free-scoring Hibs welcome Molde to Edinburgh and Rangers are in for a tough test against crack Slovenians Maribor.

Cork City are unlikely to get much change out of Rosenborg while Welsh flag-bearers The New Saints take on decent Danish outfit Midtjylland.

Istanbul Basaksehir
1pt 21-20 Hills
Vitesse Arnhem
1pt 9-5 bet365

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The Fatih Terim Stadium will be rocking and the hosts' experienced squad is packed with battle-hardened internationals
E.W. Terms
Sky bet