Legia Warsaw vs Sheriff Tiraspol – Thursday 19:45 BT/20:45 CET – Polish Army Stadium – Warsaw, Poland.
Legia Warsaw return to the post-Soviet space in their attempt to reach the group stage of a European competition for the fifth season in a row. The Moldovan champions Sheriff in the meantime have not qualified for the group stage of a European competition since the 2013-14 season.
Financed by the Sheriff Group, which is the second largest company in Moldova, Sheriff have become a symbol of Transnistria’s ambitions to become an independent state. A small sliver of land located in the very east of the country the small Russian dominated republic has ambitions to become an independent state from Moldova. Transnistria’s capital Tiraspol very much has an air of the former Soviet Union with public institutions still carrying the moniker of the institutions of the old USSR.
Hence, while Transnistria’s population lives in the nostalgia of a state long gone Sheriff are very much a modern club. Lavishly funded by the Sheriff Group the club has one of the largest youth academies in Europe. Bringing through players from the region and also young foreigners from South America and Africa who are trying to make a name for themselves Sheriff have a strong side that can challenge the likes of Legia.
Legia in the meantime have the experience of five group stage runs. The Polish champion has recently dominated in Poland and will go into this tie as the small favourite. If you fancy a punt on Legia then Bookmaker Advisor have outlined the best online bookmakers for football on the web. However, with Sheriff representing an entire region and with several young players in the squad you should expect a tight match that could go either way.
Legia Warsaw vs Sheriff Tiraspol – Players to look out for:
Dominik Nagy #21 Legia Warsaw
The 22-year-old Hungarian national team player is one of the most dynamic players on this Legia Warsaw side. Brought in from Ferencváros last January Nagy has already managed one goal and one assist in four Ekstraklasa games this season. Nagy also scored once during Legia’s failed Champions League campaign and will be key in Legia’s attempt to reach the next stage of this competition.
Vitalie Damascan #99 Sheriff Tiraspol
The 18-year-old Moldovan striker has recently turned heads when he scored three goals in Sheriff’s 3-1 win over Dinamo-Auto in the Divizia Nationala. Brought through Zimbru Chisinau’s youth academy Damascan has scored six goals in five Moldovan championship games this season.
Legia Warsaw vs Sheriff Tiraspol – Match Stats
- The two sides have never played against each other.
- Both teams started the campaign in the UEFA Champions League qualification.
- Sheriff were eliminated by Qarabag in the third round of Champions League qualification.
- Legia were kicked out by Astana.
Prediction: Legia Warsaw vs Sheriff Tiraspol 1-1
Legia Warsaw vs Sheriff Tiraspol – Possible Lineups
Malarz – Guilherme, Pazdan, Dabrowski, Jedrzejczyk – Moulin, Maczynski – Kucharczyk, Hämäläinen, Nagy – Chuckwu
Coach: Jacek Magiera
Mikulic – Cristiano, Posmac, Racu, Susic – Badibanga, Anton, Brezovec, Bayala _ Mugosa, Damascan
Coach: Roberto Bordin
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.