Partizani Tirana, our first match abroad. The draw in Nyon has determined that our first opponents in the UEFA Europa League 2018/19 will meet us in Albania. The first match will take place on 12 July, in Tirana, and the return match will be played at Ljudski vrt on 19 July.
The initial chapter of our European journey in the season 2018/19 started with the draw of the 1st qualifying round in the UEFA Europa League championship. Before the draw took place in Nyon, our team was included in the group with the following possible opponents: Ujpest, Partizani Tirana, Budućnost, Samtredia or Racing Union. The draw pitted us against the team from Albania a fifteen-time national champion f which ended the last championship in fifth place.
First reactions after the draw
Zlatko Zahovič: “There is no underestimation in football. Maribor is undoubtedly the favourite but this does not change the starting point. We have to prepare for the match with Partizani just like how we prepare for the biggest opponents. And we will. We will face the fight with a great deal of respect and confidence as well.”
Darko Milanič: We accept our role as the favourite but we will not leave anything to chance. We have to be in very good form for our first official match. There will be no calculations because they never work out. Yesterday we played against an Albanian team but I do not want to compare these matches. After this test, we can analyse how we did, rather than to search for a comparison between the clubs. We had a good approach, we were concentrated and determined; that is how we have to continue also in the future. We will gather plenty of information about Partizani, analyse the opponent and await for the match in an excellent form as always.”
About the advancement to Israel and Georgia
At the Uefa headquarter, the draw for the second qualifying round also took place after the first draw. The winner of the pair Maribor/Partizani will face the more successful team between FC Chikhura Sachkhere and Beitar Jerusalem FC.