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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Burnley worthy favourites to beat Aberdeen

FC Vaduz could be value at Lithuanian champs Zalgiris Vilnius

Burnley manager Sean Dyche
1 of 1

Europa League second qualifying round first legs
From 3pm Thursday

Burnley's reward for finishing seventh in the Premier League was a place in the Europa League second qualifying round and they are odds-on favourites to bag a first-leg victory against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

The Clarets must overcome three hurdles if they are to reach the Europa League group stage and they travel to Scotland without injured trio Steven Defour, Ashley Barnes and Robbie Brady, although goalkeeper Nick Pope could be involved despite returning to training only on Tuesday after going to the World Cup finals with England.

Burnley may be at a slight disadvantage in terms of fitness because they began pre-season training on July 2, a week later than Aberdeen, but neither team are likely to be operating at 100 per cent.

Aberdeen are constrained by a small squad but Stephen Gleeson, Niall McGinn and Andy Considine are set to return from injuries and Tommie Hoban could make his Dons debut after signing on a season- long loan from Watford.

However, central defender Mark Reynolds (knee) misses out for the home side, who are 11-2 with bet365 to qualify.

Burnley are 1-4 favourites to reach the third qualifying round. The second leg next week will be shown live on BT Sport.

Serial Liechtenstein cup winners FC Vaduz have been knocked out in the Europa League second qualifying round in each of the last two seasons but they have a winnable tie against Zalgiris Vilnius, starting with the first leg in Lithuania.

Zalgiris were Lithuanian champions for four seasons in a row between 2013 and 2016 but they have given way to 2017 champions Suduva, who are eight points above them in this year's domestic standings.

In the first qualifying round Zalgiris scraped past Faroese side KI Klaksvik 3-2 on aggregate but they face a tougher challenge against Vaduz, who play in the Swiss second tier.

Vaduz came through a tricky test against Bulgarians Levski Sofia in the last round, drawing 3-3 on aggregate and progressing on the away-goals rule.

Zalgiris look weaker opponents than Levski and Vaduz are overpriced to establish a first-leg lead before next Thursday's return match at the Rheinpark Stadion.

FC Vaduz
1pt 2-1 general

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The Clarets must overcome three hurdles if they are to reach the Europa League group stage
E.W. Terms
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